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Full text of "A retrospect of the Boston tea-party, with a memoir of George R. T. Hewes, a survivor of the little band of patriots who drowned the tea in Boston harbour in 1773"

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T. How 



M E M O I R 






What furies raged when you in sea, 

In shape of Indians, drowned the tea— Mc Fingal. 


S. S. EHss, Printer, 135 Water-street. 

















Although the diversity of the human character, as well as 
its exterior form, appear to us infinite, each individual in the 
immense chain of being, has some efficiency in the purpose 
of the eternal mind. The wisdom and the council of men, 
whose inheritance is only obscurity aud want, might often save 
the sinking fortunes of their country, and grace the triumphs 
of achievement. Yet such has been the order of this world, 
that public opinion has inclined to consign to oblivion those 
least ambitious of power and preferment. This trait in the 
disposition of man has marked the progress of society time 
immemorial. Two thousand years ago it was remarked by the 
historian Euthemenes, that the Grecian Republic was so occu- 
pied in distributing favours to idle and powerful men, it could 
not bestow a thought on useful and obscure citizens. ( The 
same opprobrium rests on the American people, in the infancy 
of their republic. Among them, also, a delusive influence has 
engendered an opinion of eminence connected with fortune, and 
a sense of debasement attending on poverty, which tend to 
render us too regardless of every advantage but that of the rich 
and insensible, to every indignity but that of the poor. This 
pernicious apprehension, occasionally, prepares men for the 
desertion of every duty, for submission to every dignity, and 
for the commission of every crime that can be accomplished in 


Any effort, therefore, to improve this trait in the human 
character, is enjoined by the obligations of patriotism and phi- 
lanthrophy. It is hoped Americans may never forget, that 
while deliberate wisdom only can sustain the mighty fabric of 
our freedom, magnanimous deeds of courage incident to every 
condition, were indispensable, though often the humble means, 
in establishing its foundations. 

In contemplating the splendid achievements of our heroes, 
the breast glows with rapture, while we consign to immortal 
fame the illustrious deeds which marked the progress of the 
revolution ; and the soul is melted into reverence at the recol- 
lection of that exalted wisdom which raised us from vassalage 
to pre-eminence among the nations ; we should hold in grateful 
and honourable remembrance those daring spirits who contri- 
buted their full, though honourable share in that great event. 

Who that loves his country, and reveres its institutions, can 
ever forget Jasper, who, in the humble office of a sergeant, 
when the flagstaff of his country was severed by a cannon ball, 
and fell without Fort Maultre, leaped from an embrasure, amid 
the fire of the foe, mounted the colours, and replaced them on 
the paraphet ? Or the heroic John Camp, who dared the infamy 
of imputed desertion, and even death, in attempting what the 
commander-in-chief styled the indespensable, delicate, and ha- 
zardous project " of seizing the traitor Arnold, and thereby 
saving the lamented and unfortunate Andre ?" Or Hunter, the 
distinguished boy, who, after deeds of dauntless valour, having 
been captured by the tories, and ordered to instant death, while 
surrounded by his brutal captors, first breathing a brief prayer 
to the God of mercy, sprang through them, to the back of their 


own chargers, and darted from their pursuit with a velocity that 
saved him ? Or the revered Peyon, a minister of the Gospel, 
who, when the king's troops committed murder at Lexington, 
snatched a musket, led on a band of patriots to the attack, and 
killed, wounded, or took prisoners, a party of the enemy ? Or 
the heroine, who, in the strength of her resolution, forgetting 
the weakness of her sex, in the disguise of a young man, enter- 
ed the republican army for three years, encountered the perils of 
a soldier, and was induced only by the exigency of a severe and 
seemingly mortal wound, to reveal the sacrifice which delicacy 
had made to the love of country ? 

Actions like these, replete as they were with magnanimous 
valour, were not more than commensurate with the transcendent 
object of the American war of independence. Among the pro- 
minent causes which led to that great event, it will be recol. 
lected, was that of the claim of the British government to the 
right of taxing the people of their colonies in America, without 
their consent. This right was denied by the citizens of Boston, 
encouraged by their friends throughout the country ; who, after all 
overtures to persuade the parliament of Great Britain to relinquish 
this assumed right, had proved abortive, formed the fixed resolu- 
tion of resisting by physical force the collection of such taxes. 
The duty on the article of tea, it seems, was intended to be re- 
served as a standing claim, or exercise of the right of laying 
such duties. 

*^A. vessel, owned by the East India Company, cortaining a 

cargo of three hundred and forty-two chests of tea, was sent to 

Boston, and consigned to some individuals in that town. It 

could not be landed without subjecting the consignees, an. 



eventually the consumers of it, to the payment of the duty. 
When the leaders of those who were opposed to this measure of 
British taxation, and at that time called whigs, found it imprac- 
ticable to procure the tea to be sent back, they secretly resolved 
on its destruction. 

To cover their design, a meeting of the people of the whole 
county was convened on the day appointed, and went into a 
grave consultation on the question, What should be done to 
prevent its being landed and sold ? It had already been guarded 
for twenty nights, by voluntary parties of the whigs, to prevent 
its being clandestinely brought ashore. At a moment when one 
of the most zealous of the whig orators was declaiming against 
all violent measures, an end was suddenly put to the debate, by 
the arrival of a party of young men, dressed, and armed, and 
painted like Indians ; though it was said that many a ruffled 
shirt, and laced vest, appeared under their blankets. They pro- 
ceeded immediately to the vessel containing the tea, boarded it, 
and in the short space of two hours, broke open and threw into 
the sea the whole three hundred and forty-two chests. All was 
silence and dismay, and no opposition was made, though sur- 
rounded by the king's ships. The Indians returned through the 
same orderly procession and solemnity as observed in the outset 
of their attempt. No other disorder took place, and it was ob- 
served, the stillest night ensued that Boston had enjoyed for 
several months. 

Governor Hutchinson being alarmed at the county meeting, 
retired privately in the morning to his country seat at Milton ; 
soon after he arrived at that place he received information, 
either through mistake or design, that the mob was coming to 


pull down his house, and escaped in the utmost haste across the 
fields. The story of the day was, that the alarm was given him 
when he sat half-shaved under the hands of the barber. 

For obvious reasons of policy, it was intended that the names 
of this little band of patriots, who drowned the tea in Boston 
harbour, should never be known to any but those of their associ- 
ates who were immediately concerned; and it is not known 
that their secret has ever been divulged. Their number has been 
variously computed ; one historian of that event says, the number 
was not less than sixty, nor more than eighty ; while others, who 
suppose the number was about two hundred, might have been 
deceived by the numerous and tumultuous crowd which assem- 
bled on the wharf to witness the scene. Among those who were 
actually engaged in this extraordinary enterprise, the subject of 
the following memoir is supposed to be the only survivor. The4| 
obscurity of his condition, and his humble occupation, has con- 
cealed from all, except the little circle of his domestic friends 
and relations, not only the knowledge of his chivalrous achieve- 
ment in destroying the British tea, but even of his very exist- 
ence. By an accidental concurrence of events, the author of 
the following pages has recently discovered, that the wasting 
influence of a hundred years had not yet subdued the spirit, nor 
unnerved the arm which sixty years age had been outstretched 
to arrest the progress of lawless power, and fix the inviolable 
seal of physical force to the great decree, that the people of the 
then British colonies, but now united independent states of 
North America, would not be taxed by the British Parliament, 
or any other power on earth, without their consent. 

This decree was not destined in its effects merely to generate 


a new party, or create a new nation of independent freemen, 
but to reform the political condition of the world, and exhibit 
the rights of man in a new blaze of glory. 

To introduce the commencement of an era so pregnant with 
the future destinies of the civil state, the powers of reason had 
been exhausted, and the claims of equal justice had been urged 
in vain, The principles of a government of laws, created and 
administered solely by the people, and exclusively for their 
benefit and happiness, had been abandoned as an inexplicable 
enigma; freedom had been hunted round the globe; man's capa- 
city for self-government had been exploded as a political heresy ; 
revolutions had only changed persons and measures, but achieved 
nothing in which the general mass of mankind had any interest. 
America seemed destined to be the only spot where the principles 
W of universal reformation could commence their progress ; it was 
there the first blow was to be struck, which, to tyrants through 
the world, should echo as the knell of their departing hour. 

The single event of destroying a few thousand pounds of tea, 
by throwing it into the water, was of itself of inconsiderable 
importance in American history ; but in its consequences, it 
was, doubtless, one in the series of events, destined to change, 
and probably improve the condition, not only of our posterity, 
but of mankind in all ages to come. 

When the conspirators in Persia, against the Magi, were con- 
sulting about a succession to the empire, it came into the mind 
of one of them to propose, that he whose horse neighed first, 
when they came together the next morning, should be king. 
Such a thing coming into his mind, although as it related to 


him, seemed to be accidental, and doubtless depended on innu- 
merable incidents, wherein the volitions of mankind, in preced- 
ing ages, had been concerned ; yet, in consequence of this 
accident, Darius, the son of Hystaspes, was king. And if this 
had not been, probably his successor would not have been the 
same, and all the circumstances of the Persian empire might 
have been far otherwise ; then, perhaps, Alexander might never 
have conquered that empire : and then, probably, the circum- 
stances of the world, in all past ages, might have been vastly 

It was not, however, the wisdom of him who first suggested 
the idea of resting the title of succession on so trifling 
an incident as the accidental neighing of a horse, that rendered 
that expedient efficient in directing the future destinies of the 
Persian empire, or of the world in after ages, but to the peculiar 
sagacity of Darius in so managing the humour of his horse, as 
to secure to himself the title of sovereignty. 

Neither could the wisdom of a reputed great statesman, in 
suggesting the extraordinary project of drowning the tea, have 
had any efficiency in arresting the lawless progress of British 
imposition, at that portentous crisis, had it not been for those 
signal adventurers, whose desperate courage, on the impulse of 
the moment, so directed their physical energies as to achieve 
that memorable enterprise ; yet the names of those heroes of 
unrivalled fame, have been permitted to rest in oblivion, while 
deeds of insect importance, compared with theirs, have consign. 
ed their authors to the deathless page of biographic history. 

It is easy to conceive an All-creating Power has bestowed on 



each individual qualities suited to the part he is destined to act 
on the stage of human life. We may, therefore, well suppose 
the subject of the following memoir will excite in the reader a 
more than ordinary interest. 

But aside from this consideration, it is believed that a life 
rarely passes of which a judicious and faithful narrative may 
afford not only amusement but profit. 

It is true, that eminence of station, splendour of achievement, 
and the distinctions of rank and fortune, are sought as the sure 
passports to preferment ; while the whole train of social virtues, 
when divested of their decorations and disguises, their pomp and 
show, are permitted to glide through the crowd of life, without 
notice, and without praise. 

There is more uniformity in the condition of men than we 
are apt to imagine. In the great mass of the world every man 
may find great numbers, between whose circumstances and his 
own, there is a striking similitude ; and to whom a knowledge 
of the diversified incidents of their lives might be of apparent 
and immediate use. In short, there is scarcely any possibility 
of good or ill but what is common to human kind. 

Biography, to combine instruction with amusement, should 
present true pictures of life in all its forms, 

Not only have the distinctions created by political preferment, 
bv heroic achievement, by rank and fortune, claims on the 
perpetuity of the monumental record, but so also have the djs* 
tinctions created in the order of nature. 



If the Great Disposer of human destinies bestows on an 
individual superior faculties, and a capacity to render important 
services to his country, and to the world, it is due to the dignity 
of man, respectfully to notice the distinctions which the laws of 
nature have ordained. 

Although the world has not conferred on the subject of the 
following memoir its usual passports to preferment, to power, 
and to fortune, yet one memorable deed has entitled him to more 
substantial fame, and durable glory, than the conquest of the 
world should achieve for its hero. Besides, his equanimity, his 
fortitude, his cheerful submission to his adverse destinies, 
might shed a lustre on artificial and venal greatness, and is 
worthy of all imitation. 

For fifty years Hewes has been buried in the depths of obscu- 
rity, during which period he has passed his time in the humble, 
and too unfashionable pursuits of honest industry; lost, as it 
were, to the knowledge of the world, and to fame. But he has 
been blessed by Heaven with the capacity to preserve, what 
millions of the inheritors of wealth, and fame, and preferment, 
have lost ; he has been enabled to preserve his physical and 
intellectual powers ; a capacity for sensual and social enjoyment ; 
and what is more, his integrity of character, without which 
national independence, and republican liberty are but empty 

To revive and perpetuate in the recollection, one among the 
important events which lead to a new and glorious era in the 
history of our country, and the world, is the object of the fol. 
lowing memoir, in the performance of which it is intended to 


contribute our mite in discharging the obligation of respect and 
gratitude, not only to the veteran and venerable Hewes, but to 
all those who were associated with him, in that desperate, 
memorable, and unprecedented enterprise. 







A town *in the interior of the state of New- York, 
about sixty miles west of the Hudson river, in the 
county of Otsego, is the present residence of George 
R. T. Hewes, a survivor of the little band of patriots 
who sixty years ago immersed the three hundred and 
forty chests of tea in Boston harbour. 

The house in which he now resides, stands about 
one k mile in a westerly course from the medicinal 
waters, usually called Richfield Springs, from the name 
of the town in which they are situated. From some 
alteration intended to improve the great travelled road 
from Albany to Buffalo, the spot on which Hewes 
seems destined to close his life, is wholly excluded 
from any open communication with the public high- 
way ; and at the termination of a pent way, bounded 
partly on two sides by rising grounds, covered with 
a natural growth of forest trees, which, with the 
surrounding cultivated fields of arable, pasturage, and 



meadow grounds, interspersed with clumps of trees, 
presents a prospect of rural scenery, highly varie- 
gated and picturesque. 

On my arrival at this sequestered spot, and beholding 
the venerable remnant of mortality, animated with the 
vigour, the cheerfulness, and the vivacity of intelligent 
humanity, my recollections were by an involuntary im- 
pulse hurried back to the by-gone days of the revolu- 
tion. Many prominent events of that interesting pe- 
riod of our history pressed upon my mind. When I 
contrasted the deathlike silence of his secluded situa- 
tion with the clattering of an hundred tomahawks, 
cutting and dashing in splinters the chests which 
contained the British tea, and contemplated for a mo- 
ment on the changes which time and events had 
wrought upon this venerable man, and his seclusion 
from the usual facilities of social intercourse, I was 
deeply impressed with a consideration of the mutability 
of human affairs, and the oblivion to which great 
achievements may be consigned by the forgetfulness or 
the ingratitude of the world. 

I have particularly referred to the place of his pre- 
sent abode, that among the numerous visitors at the 
Richfield Springs, above referred to, those whose in- 
quisitive minds may dispose them to attest, by a per- 
sonal interview, the peculiar characteristics of this 
extraordinary man, may yet have an opportunity ; as 


nothing appears from the peculiar condition of his 
health, nothing but his great age that seems to presage 
his near approaching dissolution. Calculating on the 
chances which usually fall to the lot of human life, under 
circumstances which have marked the progress of his, 
he may yet far exceed the bounds set to the very few 
centarians of which we have any knowledge. 

On receiving satisfactory evidence that he was one of 
the volunteers who drowned the tea in Boston harbour 
in 1773, I conceived it due to his character and fame, 
as well as to that interesting event, to consign to the 
monumental record of history the perpetuation of the 
memory of a man deserving of his country's esteem 
and applause. My confidence in the propriety of such 
an effort was increased on learning that his habits 
and manners had been distinguished for sobriety and 
industry, and especially when I found that his in- 
tegrity was reputed to be unimpeachable ; as the few 
incidents relating to the subject of the following me- 
moir must depend for their correctness on the strength 
of his memory and his veracity. Besides, it is con- 
sidered that the knowledge of those men who are 
concerned in transactions which are attended with un- 
common circumstances, and lead to important results, 
must always be interesting to the inquisitive mind. 

Although the few sketches of the history of Hewes 
will rest principally in his own recollection, his familiar 


associates for the last fifty years of his life, have the 
most entire confidence in his integrity. 

Hewes, like many other persons of very advanced 
age, can give no correct information respecting his, 
having in his possession no record of his birth. When 
this memoir was preparing for the press, from a calcula- 
tion made on a supposed knowledge of some facts, he was 
believed by some of his friends to be ninety-nine years 
old. Though some of his remote relatives have since 
expressed their belief that his age is something less, 
while they assert it has considerable exceeded four 
score and ten. 

Great as his age is acknowledged to be, he appears 
to have a clear recollection of his pedigree, and the 
prominent circumstances which have marked the pro- 
gress of his life from his early childhood to the present 

It has been prefaced, that although the wisdom and 
councils of men whose inheritance is only obscurity and 
want, might often save the sinking fortunes of their 
country, and grace the triumphs of achievement, yet 
such has been the order of this world, public opi- 
nion has inclined to consign to oblivion those least 
ambitious of power and preferment. It is believed that 
the correctness of this remark may have been empha- 
tically exemplified in the person and character of 
Hewes. When it is considered that those w r hose 


illustrious deeds have assigned to them conspicuous 
places in history, have not often exhibited those pro- 
minent traits of character which have led to their ce- 
lebrity, until some fortuitous incidents beyond their con- 
trol had first thrown open to them the doors of the 
temple of their fame. 

Although it cannot be known how men may improve 
the fortunate incidents which have opened to others the 
way to renown and power, yet no one who may have 
had a personal interview with Hewes, now at the age 
of nearly an hundred years, and a glance at his history 
and present condition of his faculties, can assert na- 
ture had denied to him the prerequisite constituents 
of a great man. 

It appears, from his account of himself, and from 
the present state of his mind, his advantages for obtain- 
ing even a common education, have been very limited . 
yet his memory, his physical and intellectual powers, 
his vivacity and communicative faculties, are of no or- 
dinary character. 

On requesting him to give me some sketches of his 
origin and history, he proceeded with an alacrity and 
promptness not less amusing than extraordinary. 

My father, said he, was born in Wrentham, in the 
state of Massachusetts, about twenty-eight miles from 
Boston. My grandfather having made no provision 
for his support, and being unable to give him an eduea- 



tion, apprenticed him at Boston to learn a mechanical 
trade. After commencing business for himself, he mar- 
ried a woman by the name of Abigail Sever, of Rox- 
bury, by whom he had six sons and five daughters. 
The names of my elder brothers were Samuel, Shubael, 
and Solomon ; and my younger, Daniel and Ebenezer. 
My father's Christian name was George. My mother 
had a great uncle whose Christian name was Twelve, 
for whom she appeared to have a great veneration. 
Why he was called by this singular name, I never 
knew. So my parents were pleased to call me by 
the name, or rather names, of George Robert Twelve. 

My mother, whose veracity I could never doubt, 
often remarked to me, that at my birth I weighed four- 
teen pounds. This unusual natal growth, though it 
might have been an indication of a vigorous consti- 
tution, could not be of any great physical weight or 
dimensions to which I was destined to attain, as every 
one who has a knowledge of my person, now very well 
knows I have never acquired the ordinary weight or 
size of other men ; though I have generally enjoyed 
sound health and a cheerful mind. 

In my childhood, my advantages for education were 
very limited, much more so than children enjoy at the 
present time in my native state. My whole education 
which my opportunities permitted me to acquire, con- 
sisted only of a moderate knowledge of reading and 


writing ; my father's circumstances being confined to 
such humble means as he was enabled to acquire by 
his mechanical employment, I was kept running of 
errands, and exposed of course to all the mischiefs 
to which children are liable in populous cities. 

At a time when I was about six years old, I re- 
collect my mother sent me with a basket to the navy 
yard, to get some chips for fuel. I set down my 
basket, after I had arrived at the place where I was 
sent ; I thought to divert myself by viewing the shoals of 
little fish that were to be seen swimming under the 
loose plank and boards that were floating on the sur- 
face. For that purpose I placed myself on two plank 
that were floating near each other, setting one foot on 
each, and so was viewing the multitude of little fish 
which I could see between the two plank swimming 
near the surface of the water. 

While in that situation, the planks on which I stood 
gradually separated, till my feet were so far extended 
that I could not recover them, so as to maintain my posi- 
tion j and I fell between them into the water, which was 
at that place about seven feet deep, and sinking to the 
bottom, was soon lifeless. Some ship carpenters who 
had seen me come to the place with my basket, and 
seeing it standing on the shore, were apprehensive from 
my sudden disappearance that I might have fallen into 
the water, came to the spot where they had last seen 


me, and soon discovered me lying on the bottom ; 
but rather than expose themselves to inconvenience or 
danger, they went for a boat hook, which they soon 
procured, and with it hooked me up by my clothes ; 
and finding me motionless, they proceeded to use means 
for my restoration to life, and for that purpose rolled me 
on a tar barrel from end to end, by means of which ope- 
ration the water was so much of it discharged, that they 
discovered signs of life, and immediately conveyed me 
to my mother, and I found myself transferred from a 
watery grave to a warm bed. By my mother's assidu- 
ous care I was restored ; but my senses had been so much 
benumbed, and my health so seriously injured, that it 
was near a fortnight before I was considered a pro- 
per subject for punishment. 

My mother then took me in hand in good earnest for 
having neglected the business of my errand, and by my 
childish curiosity exposed myself to the catastrophe 
which had befallen me. I will teach you better, said 
she, than neglect your duty and expose your life in this 
way. She then applied the rod to my back severely, 
and I believe to some good purpose ; for it not only 
left some impressions upon my flesh, but upon my 
mind, whereby I was often afterwards admonished of 
the importance of faithfulness in executing the com- 
mands of my parents, or others who had a right to my 


Soon after this chastisement by his mother, he was 
placed under the care of an uncle at Wrentham, who 
was a farmer. While in his employment, Hewes 
relates an incident which developed in him, at that in- 
fant age, the correctness of his conceptions of equal 
rights and equal justice, as well as his fixed resolu- 
tion to preserve his integrity. 

One day, said he, when' I 'was in the room with my 
aunt, her son, a lad about five years old, came into the 
room, and without any provocation, struck me in the 
face with a stick, which so irritated me, that from the 
sudden impulse of passion, I called him by a reproach- 
ful name, which gave offence to my aunt; and on her 
reproving me, I readily acknowledged to her that I 
had spoken unadvisedly ; but, said I, he gave the first 
offence by striking me without a cause. She said 
no more to me on the subject at that time, but the next 
day called me to an account for the offence, and after 
compelling me to procure a rod of correction, as she 
termed it, chastised me with it pretty severely. I then 
said to her, will you not now chastise your son ? he 
gave the first offence : my aunt replied, that as he was 
younger than I, she should let him pass ; then, said I, 
if you do not punish him as you have me, J. will 
certainly do it myself. She then dismissed me, say- 
ing, that if I chastised him, I would do it at my peril ; 
but I declared to her. that I should do as I had said I 


would. Some days afterwards, as I caught my cousin 
at the barn, when I had reminded him of the offence 
he had given me by striking me in the face, I applied 
to him the rod of correction about as severely as my 
aunt had to me, when he ran to the house, crying 
aloud, and as might be expected, complained to his 
mother of what I had done ; and as I came into the 
house, so, said my aunt, you have been whipping your 
cousin, it seems ; certainly I have, said I ; you know I told 
you I should do it, and my uncle has charged me never, 
on any account, to tell a lie. She then ordered me to go 
into the cornhouse for some article, but following me,, 
locked me in, and there kept me a prisoner until my 
uncle returned home ; who, after being told by my aunt 
where I was, and of the offence I had committed, 
came to my prison, and on unlocking the door, inquired 
the cause of my conduct, and I believed I fully sa- 
tisfied him, that in chastising his 6on, I had only done 
equal justice, and avoided the commission of a falsehood 
by doing what I declared I would ; for he readily 
diacharged me from my imprisonment, without cen- 
suring me for my conduct. 

It has been thought highly characteristic of the in- 
dependent spirit of our present chief magistrate, that he 
dared to refuse to brush the boots of a British officer, 
when he was his prisoner ; so it might be of Hewes, for 
daring to assert his rights, and to execute justice on 


the child of one to whom he was an indented appren- 

It appears, from the account which Hewes gives of 
the chastisement inflicted on him by his mother and 
aunt, with many other similar incidents of that pe- 
riod, that parents and guardians were not in the habit 
of punishing the delinquent child, until they had given 
it time for consideration and reflection, and their own 
passion, if excited, should have time to subside. It was 
a habit, he observes, confirmed by the custom of that 
period, among those most distinguished for the wis- 
dom of their domestic discipline, never to inflict pun- 
ishment upon the child for an offence, until after the 
day it was committed, by means of which they believed 
the object of punishment was more likely to be effected. 

After remaining with his uncle until he was twelve 
years old, he was taken back to Boston, and put by his 
father to learn the trade of a shoemaker, which, he ob- 
served, was never an occupation of his choice, being 
inclined to more active pursuits than that occupation 

The injudicious conduct of parents, in choosing for 
children an occupation without consulting their natural 
faculties and inclination, it is believed will be found 
strikingly exemplified in the history and character of 

After finding that my depressed condition would 


probably render it impracticable for me to acquire 
that education requisite for civil employments, I had 
resolved to engage in the military service of my coun- 
try, should an opportunity present, not being conscious 
of my deficiency in courage or physical strength. 

When, therefore, the British government was about 
organizing an army to resist the claims of the French 
in North America, I proposed to enter into the service 
against the French, and enlisted myself as a soldier for 
that object. But in those days it seems military capa- 
city of every grade was estimated by stature. I could 
not pass muster, because I was not tall enough. But 
I was determined not to be defeated by this strange, 
and to me incompetent objection to my capacity. 

I raised the soles and heels of my shoes, and stuffed 
the inside of my stockings, to add a little to my stature 
and offered my Self for re-examination ; but the artifice 
was detected, and my military ardour was suppressed. 

The muster master, after again taking the measure 
of my stature, says to me, set down my boy, and let me 
look at your shoes ; and smiling, says to me, your 
heels are too high for convenience ; now just pull off 
your stocking ; accorningly I did, and thrusting his 
hand into it, he pulled out a handful of rags from the 
heel, and throwing them on the floor, he and Captain 
Cox, who was present, laughed most heartily, and ob- 
served that they were sorry that I had not been a little 


taller, as they believed I had the true sptrit of a 

The artifice practiced by Hewes to avoid his disquali- 
fication to become a soldier, exhibited in him an inclina- 
tion strikingly similar to that noticed in an anecdote 
of the juvenile temper of Sir Walter Scott, who in his 
boyhood, as is related of him by one of his biographers, 
had a strong inclination to become a soldier, which he 
was prevented from indulging by an illness, though his 
parents were disposed to gratify it. His malady had 
the effect of contracting his righc leg, so that he could 
hardly walk erect, even with the toes of that foot upon 
the ground. A member of his family having represent- 
ed to him that this would be an insuperable obstacle to 
his entering the army, it is said he left the room in an 
agony of mortified feeling, and was found some time 
afterwards suspended by his wrists from his bed room 
window, somewhat after the manner of the unfortunate 
knight of the rueful countenance, when beguiled by 
the treacherous Maritomesses at the inn. On being 
asked the cause of this strange proceeding, he saiojhe 
wished to prove to them, that however unfitted by his 
limbs for the profession of a soldier, he was at least 
strong enough in his arms. He had actually remained 
in that uneasy and trying posture for upwards of an 

However, this regulation requiring a definite stature 


as a requisite qualification for a soldier may have been 
heretofore approved by those who controled the mili- 
tary department, either in Great Britain or any other 
country ; it has from necessity, and with great propriety 
too, been disregarded by the American people in the 
organization of the militia. 

By this standard of preferment, neither Alexander or 
Napoleon would probably have passed muster, as their 
stature is reputed to have hardly exceeded that of the 
rejected Hewes, thoughtheir soldierly pre-eminence has 
been well attested by the record of both ancient and 
modern times. 

To a man who is conscious of the competancy of his 
capacity and whose daring spirit impels him to patriotic 
efforts in the service of his country, nothing would seem 
to be more depressingly humiliating than to be exclu- 
ded from an opportunity of developing his faculties for 
a cause which no human wisdom or power could 

But Hewes said he cheerfully submitted to the course 
of life to which his destinies directed. 

He built him a shop and pursued the private avoca- 
cation of his trade for a considerable length of time, 
until on the application of his brother he was induced 
to go with him on two fishing voyages to the banks of 
New Foundland, which occupied his time for two 


After the conclusion of the French war, as it was 
called in America, until the differences of the American 
colonies with Great Britain commenced, he continued 
at Boston, except the two years absence with his brother. 

During that period, said Hewes, when I was at the 
age of twenty-six, I married the daughter of Benjamin 
Sumner, of Boston. At the time of our intermarriage, 
the age of my wife was seventeen. We lived together 
very happily seventy years. She died at the age of 

At the time when the British troops were first station- 
ed at Boston, we had several children, the exact num- 
ber I do not recollect. By our industry and mutual 
efforts we were improving our condition. 

An account of the massacre of the citizens of Boston, 
in the year 1770, on the 5th of March, by some of the 
British troops, has been committed to the record of our 
history, as one of those interesting events which lead 
to the revolutionary contest that resulted in our inde- 
pendence. When the various histories of that event 
were published, no one living at that time could have 
expected that any one of the actors in that tragical 
scene, and then, considerably advanced in life, would 
have lived to revive in our recollection facts relating to 
it, by the rehersal of them from his own personal know- 
ledge. But while the public mind has no other source 
from which it ean derive its knowledge of that, and 


many other interesting events relating to our revolu- 
tionary contest, Hewes, with a precision of recollection, 
perhaps unprecedented in the history of longevity, 
rehearses many facts relating to them, from his own 
personal knowledge. 

We have been informed by the historians of the re- 
volution, that a series of provocations had excited strong 
prejudices, and inflamed the passion of the British 
soldiery against our citizens, previous to the commence- 
ment of open hostilities ; and prepared their minds to 
burst out into acts of violence on the application of a 
single spark of additional excitement, and which finally 
resulted in the unfortunate massacre of a number of our 

On my inquiring of Hewes what knowledge he had 
of that event, he replied, that he knew nothing from 
history, as he had never read any thing relating to it 
from any publication whatever, and can therefore only 
give the information which I derived from the event of 
the day upon which the catastrophe happened. On 
that day, one of the British officers applied to a barber, 
to be shaved and dressed ; the master of the shop, whose 
name was Pemont, told his apprentice boy he might 
serve him, and receive the pay to himself, while Pemont 
left the shop. The boy accordingly served him, but 
the officer, for some reason unknown to me, went away 
from the shop without paying him for his service. 


After the officer had been gone some time, the boy went 
to the house where he was, with his account, to demand 
payment of his bill, but the sentinel, who was before 
the door, would not give him admittance, nor permit 
him to see the officer ; and as some angry words were 
interchanged between the sentinel and the boy, a con- 
siderable number of the people from the vicinity, soon 
gathered at the place where they were, which was in 
King street, and I was soon on the ground among them. 
The violent agitation of the citizens, not only on account 
of the abuse offered to the boy, but other causes of ex- 
citement, then fresh in the recollection, was such that the 
sentinel began to be apprehensive of danger, and 
knocked at the door of the house, where the officers 
were, and told the servant who came to the door, that 
he was afraid of his life, and would quit his post unless 
he was protected. The officers in the house then sent a 
messenger to the guard-house, to require Captain Pres- 
ton to come with a sufficient number of his soldiers to 
defend them from the threatened violence of the people. 
On receiving the message, he came immediately with a 
small guard of grenadiers, and paraded them before the 
custom-house, where the British officers were shut up. 
Captain Preston then ordered the people to disperse, 
but they said they would not, they were in the king's 
highway, and had as good a right to be there as he 
had. The captain of the guard then said to them, if 


you do not disperse, I will fire upon you, and then gave 
orders to his men to make ready, and immediately after 
gave them orders to fire. Three of our citizens fell 
dead on the spot, and two, who were wounded, died the 
next day ; and nine others were also wounded. The 
persons wno were killed I well recollect, said Hewes ; 
they were, Gray, a rope maker, Marverick, a young 
man, Colwell, who was the mate of Captain Colton ; 
Attuck, a mulatto, and Carr, who was an Irishman 
Captain Preston then immediately fled with his grena- 
diers back to the guard-house. The people who were 
assembled on that occasion, then immediately chose a 
committee to report to the governor the result of Captain 
Preston's conduct, and to demand of him satisfaction. 
The governor told the committee, that if the people 
would be quiet that night he would give them satisfac- 
tion, so far as was in his power ; the next morning 
Captain Preston, and those of his guard who were 
concerned in the massacre, were, accordingly, by order 
of the governor, given up, and taken into custody the 
next morning, and committed to prison. 

It is not recollected that the offence given to the 
barber's boy is mentioned by the historians of the revo- 
lution ; yet there can be no doubt of its correctness . 
The account of this single one of the exciting causes 
of the massacre, related by Hewes, at this time, was in 


answer to the question of his personal knowledge of 
that event. 

A knowledge of the spirit of those times will easily 
lead us to conceive, that the manner of the British 
officers application to the barber, was a little too strongly- 
tinctured with the dictatorial hauteur, to conciliate the 
views of equality, which at that period were supremely- 
predominant in the minds of those of the whig party, 
even in his humble occupation ; and that the disrespect- 
ful notice of his loyal customer, in consigning him to 
the attention of his apprentice boy, and abruptly leaving 
his shop,' was intended to be treated by the officer with 
contempt, by so underating the services of his appren- 
tice, as to deem any reward for them beneath his atten- 
tion. The boy too, may be supposed to have imbibed 
so much of the spirit which distinguished that period 
of our history, that he was willing to improve any oc- 
casion to contribute his share to the public excitement ; 
to add an additional spark to the fire of political dissen- 
tion which was enkindling. 

When Hewes arrived at the spot where the massacre 
happened, it appears his attention was principally en- 
gaged by the clamours of those who were disposed to 
aid the boy in avenging the insult offered to him by the 
British offieer, and probably heard nothing, at that 
time, of any other of the many exciting causes which 
lead to that disastrous event, though it appeared from 


his general conversation, his knowledge of them was 
extensive and accurate. 

But to pursue the destiny of Captain Preston, and 
the guard who fired on the citizens ; in about a fortnight 
after, said Hewes, they were brought to trial and indict- 
ed for the crime of murder. 

The soldiers were tried first, and acquitted, on the 
ground, that in firing upon the citizens of Boston, they 
only acted in proper obedience to the captain's orders. 
When Preston, their captain, was tried, I was called as 
one of the witnesses, on the part of the government, and 
testified, that I believed it was the same man, Captain 
Preston, that ordered his soldiers to make ready, who 
also ordered them to firs. Mr. John Adams, former 
president of the United States, was advocate for the 
prisoners, and denied the fact, that Captain Preston 
gave orders to his men to fire ; and on his cross exami- 
nation of me, asked whether my position was such, 
that I could see the captain's lips in motion when the 
order to fire was given ; to which I answered, that I 
could not. Although the evidence of Preston's having 
given orders to the soldiers to fire, was thought by the 
jury sufficient to acquit them, it was not thought to be of 
weight enough to convict him of a capital offence ; he 
also was acquited. 

This account given to me by Hewes, although ob- 
viously from his own recollection and personal know- 


ledge, it accords with the most correct historians of that 
event. At my request he confined his rehearsal to the 
most prominent details relating to it. The source from 
which the recollection is revived, at this time, gives it 
novelty, and renders it interesting. 

Some time after the massacre of our citizens, and 
before the destruction of the tea, Hewes relates an 
ancedote of a hair's breath escape. One day, said he, 
as I was returning from dinner, I met a man by the 
name of John Malcom, who was a custom-house officer, 
and a small boy, pushing his sled along, before him ; 
and just as I was passing the boy, he said to Malcom, 
what, sir, did you throw my chips into the snow for, 
yesterday? Upon which Malcom angrily replied, do 
you speak to me, you rascal ; and, as he raised a cane 
he had in his hand, aiming it at the head of the boy, I 
spoke to Malcom, and said to him, you -are not about 
to strike that boy with your cudgel, } r ou may kill him ; 
upon my saying that, he was suddenly diverted from 

the boy, and turning upon me, says, you d d rascal, 

do you presume too, to speak to me ? I replied to him, 
I am no rascal, sir, be it known to you ; whereupon he 
struck me across the head with his cane, and knocked 
me down, and by the blow cut a hole in my hat two 
inches in length. At this moment, one Captain Godfry 
came up, and raising mc up, asked who had struck me ; 
Malcom, replied the by standers, while he, for fear of 


the displeasure of the populace, ran to his house, and 
shut himself up. The people, many of whom were 
soon collected around me, advised me to go immediately 
to Doctor Warren, and get him to dress my wound, 
which I did without delay ; and the doctor, after dress- 
ed it, observed to me, it can be considered no misfortune 
that I had a thick skull, for had not yours been very 
strong, said he, it would have been broke ; you have 
come within a hair's breath of loosing your life. He 
then advised me to go to Mr. Gluincy, a magistrate, and 
get a warrant, for the purpose of arresting Malcom, 
which I did, and carried it immediately to a constable, 
by the name of Justine Hale, and delivered it to him, to 
serve, but when he came to the house where Malcom 
was locked up, it was surrounded by such a multitude 
he could not serve it. The people, however, soon broke 
open the door, and took Malcom into their custody. 
They then took him to the place where the massacre 
was committed, and their flogged him with thirty-nine 
stripes. After which, they besmeared him "thoroughly 
with tar and feathers ; they then whipped him through 
the town, till they arrived at the gallows, on the neck, 
where they gave him thirty-nine stripes more, and then, 
after putting one end of a rope about his neck, and 
throwing the other end over the gallows, told him to 
remember that he had come within one of being hanged. 
They then took him back to the house from whenee 


they had taken him, and discharged him from their 

The severity of the flogging they had given him, 
together with the cold coat of tar with which they 
had invested him, had such a benumbing effect upon 
his health, that it required considerable effort to re- 
store his usual circulation. During the process of 
his chastisement, the deleterious effect of the frost, 
it being a cold season, generated a morbid affection 
upon the prominent parts of his face, especially upon 
his chin, which caused a separation and peeling off of 
some fragments of loose skin and flesh, which, with a 
portion of the tar and feathers, which adhered to 
him, he preserved in a box, and soon after carried with 
him to England, as the testimonials of his sufferings in 
the cause of his country. On his arrival in England 
soon after this catastrophe Malcom obtained an annual 
pension of fifty pounds, but lived only two years after 
to enjoy it. 

On relating this adventure, the very excitement which 
the affront must have wrought upon him, evidently 
began to rekindle, and he remarked with emphasis, I 
shall carry to my grave the scar which the wound 
Malcom gave me left on my head ; and passing my 
finger over the spot to which he directed it, there was 
obviously such a scar, as must have been occasioned 
by the wound he had described. 


Although the excitment which had been occasioned 
by the wanton massacre of our citizens, had in some 
measure abated, it was never extinguished until open 
hostilities commenced, and we had declared our inde- 
pendence. The citizens of Boston continued inflexible 
in their demand, that every British soldier should be 
withdrawn from the town, and within four days after 
the massacre, the whole army decamped. But the 
measures of the British parliament, which led the Ame- 
rican colonies to a separation from that government, 
were not abandoned. And to carry into execution their 
favourite project of taxing their 'American colonies, they 
employed a number of ships to transport a large quantity 
of tea into the colonies, of which the American people 
were apprised, and while resolute measures were 
taking in all the capital towns,, to resist the project of 
British taxation, the ships arrived, which the people 
of Boston had long expected. 

The particular object of sending this cargo of tea to 
Boston at that time, and the catastrophe which befell it, 
have been referred to in the preface. It has also been 
recorded, among the most important and interesting 
events in the history of the American revolution; but 
the rehersal of it at this time, by a witness, and an actor 
in that tragicomical scene, excites in the recollection 
of it a novel and extraordinary interest. 

On my inquiring of Hewes if he knew who first 


proposed the project of destroying the tea, to prevent its 
being landed, he replied that he did not ; neither did he 
know who or what number were to volunteer their ser- 
vices for that purpose. But from the significant allu- 
sion of some persons in whom I had confidence, together 
with the knowledge I had of the spirit of those times, I 
had no doubt but that a sufficient number of associates 
would accompany me in that enterprise. 

The tea destroyed was contained in three ships, lay- 
ing near each other, at what was called at that time 
Griffin's wharf, and were surrounded by armed ships 
of war ; the commanders of which had publicly de- 
clared, that if the rebels, as they were pleased to style 
the Bostonians, should not withdraw their opposition to 
the landing of the tea before a certain day, the 17th 
day of December, 1773, they should on that day force 
it on shore, under the cover of their cannon's mouth. 
On the day preceding the seventeenth, there was a 
meeting of the citizens of the county of Suffolk, con- 
vened at one of the churches in Boston, for the purpose 
of consulting on what measures might be considered 
expedient to prevent the landing of the tea, or secure 
the people from the collection of the duty. At that 
meeting a committee was appointed to wait on Governor 
Hutchinson, and request him to inform them whether 
he would take any measures to satisfy the people on 
the object of the meeting. To the first application of 



this committee, the governor told them he would give 
them a definite answer by five o'clock in the afternoon. 
At the hour appointed, the committee again repaired to 
the governor's house, and on inquiry found he had 
gone to his country seat at Milton, a distance of about 
six miles. When the committee returned and informed 
the meeting of the absence of the governor, there was 
a confused murmur among the members, and the 
meeting was immediately dissolved, many of them 
crying out, Let every man do his duty, and be true 
to his country : and there was a general huzza for 
Griffin's wharf. It was now evening, and I immedi- 
ately dressed myself in the costume of an Indian, equip- 
ped with a small hatchet, which I and my associates 
denominated the tomahawk, with which, and a club, 
after having painted my face and hands with coal dust 
in the shop of a blacksmith, I repaired to GrimVs 
wharf, where the ships lay that contained the tea. 
When I first appeared in the street, after being thus dis- 
guised, I fell in with many who were dressed, equipped 
and painted as I was, and who fell in with me, and 
marched in order to the place of our destination. When 
we arrived at the wharf, there were three of our num- 
ber who assumed an authority to direct our operations, 
to which we readily submitted. They divided us into 
three parties, for the purpose of boarding the three ships 
which contained the tea at the same time. The name 


of him who commanded the division to which I was 
assigned, was Leonard Pitt. The names of the other 
commanders I never knew. We were immediately- 
ordered by the respective commanders to board all the 
ships at the same time, which we promptly obeyed. 
The commander of the division to which I belonged, as 
soon as we were on board the ship, appointed me 
boatswain, and ordered me to go to the captain and 
demand of him the keys to the hatches and a dozen 
candles. I made the demand accordingly, and the 
captain promptly replied, and delivered the articles"; 
but requested me at the same time to do no damage to 
the ship or rigging. We then were ordered by our com- 
mander to open the hatches, and take out all the chests 
of tea and throw them overboard, and we immediately 
proceeded to execute his orders ; first cutting and split- 
ting the chests with our tomahawks, so as thoroughly 
to expose them to the effects of the water. In abou t 
three hours from the time we went on board, we had 
thus broken and thrown overboard every tea chest to 
be found in the ship ; while those in the other ships 
were disposing of the tea in the same way, at the same 
time. We were surrounded by British armed ships, 
but no attempt was made to resist us. We then quietly 
retired to our several places of residence, without having 
any conversation with each other, or taking any mea- 
sures to discover who were our associates ; nor do I 



recollect of our having had the knowledge of the 
name of a single individual concerned in that affair, 
except that of Leonard Pitt, the commander of my 
division, who I have mentioned. There appeared to 
be an understanding that each individual should volun- 
teer his services, keep his own secret, and risk the 
consequences for himself. No disorder took place 
during that transaction, and it was observed at that 
time, that the stillest night ensued that Boston had 
enjoyed for many months. 

* During the time we were throwing the tea overboard, 
there were several attempts made by some of the citizens 
of Boston and its vicinity, to carry off small quantities 
of it for their family use. To effect that object, they 
would watch their opportunity to snatch up a handful 
from the deck, where it became plentifully scattered, and 
put it into their pockets. One Captain O' Conner, whom 
I well knew, came on board for that purpose, and when 
he supposed he was not noticed, filled his pockets, and 
also the lining of his coat. But I had detected him, and 
gave information to the captain of what he was doing. 
We were ordered to take him into custody, and just as 
he was stepping from the vessel, I seized him by the 
skirt of his coat, and in attempting to pull him back, I 
tore it off; but springing forward, by a rapid effort, he 
made his escape. He had however to run a gauntlet 


through the crowd upon the wharf ; each one, as he 
passed, giving him a kick or a stroke. 

The next day we nailed the skirt of his coat, which I 
had pulled off, to the whipping post in Charlestown, 
the place of his residence, with a label upon it, com- 
memorative of the occasion which had thus subjected 
the proprietor to the popular indignation. 

Another attempt was made to save a little tea from 
the ruins of the cargo, by a tall aged man, who wore a 
large cocked hat and white wig, which was 
fashionable at that time. He had slightly slipped a 
little into his pocket, but being detected, they seized him, 
and taking his hat and wig from his head, threw them, 
together with the tea, of which they had emptied his 
pockets, into the water. In consideration of his advanced 
age, he was permitted to escape, with now and then a 
slight kick. 

The next morning, after we had cleared the ships 
of the tea, it was discovered that very considerable 
quantities of it was floating upon the surface of the 
water ; and to prevent the possibility of any of its being 
saved for use, k a number of small boats were manned by 
sailors and citizens, who rowed them into those parts 
of the harbour wherever the tea was visible, and by 
beating it with oars and paddles, so thoroughly drenched 
it, as to render its entire destruction inevitable. 

It may be recollected, at that time there was a very 


prevailing opinion, that the American colonies would 
never be exonerated from the tax on tea, until an habitual 
disuse of it could, by force of public opinion, be estab- 
lished. And so inveterate was becoming the habit of 
the use of that article, it was thought impossible to 
abolish it, without exposing to contempt and ridicule, 
and identifying with the enemies of our country, those 
who by their example would continue to encourage the 
use of it. The account therefore which Hewes gives 
us of the severity of the whigs towards the tea drinkers, 
is in perfect accordance with the spirit of the times in 
seventeen hundred and seventy-three. 

In confirmation of the correctness of this view of po- 
pular opinion at that crisis, Hewes relates many humo- 
rous anecdotes. 

Among others, he relates one of a Mrs. Philips, a tory, 
who would import tea and sell to the tories. To witness 
the public indignation towards her, he says a great 
number of young men in Boston, collected one Saturday 
evening, and employed some menials to besmear her 
house with substances very offensive to the smell. She 
discovered what they were doing, and called out to them 
from her window, You rascals you may plaster, but I will 
sell tea as much as I please ; but the condition in which 
her house was discovered the next morning, gave such 
publicity to her name and character, that her gains 


afterwards in the sale of that article, were acquired at 
the expense of her peace, and the public odium. 

There was also a man by the name of Theophalus 
Lilly, who imported and sold tea ; and as a token of 
contempt and derision, some one nailed a sign upon 
a post in front of his house, with a hand painted 
upon it, with a finger pointing to his house, and a notice 
in writing under it, " That is an importer of tea." 

One day when a German boy by the name of Snider, 
stood reading it, one Richardson, the king's tide waiter, 
came up, and insulted him for taking so much notice of 
the sign: when a crowd soon collected around the 
sign, and took such a part in defence of the boy, as 
convinced Richardson his situation was not very 
eligible in that place, and he went in haste to his 
house and shut himself up. But the crowd followed 
him, surrounded the house, and insultingly raised a 
shout ; when Richardson immediately fired from the 
window and killed the German boy, who was among 
the crowd. Whereupon the multitude broke into the 
house, and seizing him, took him before a magistrate, 
who, after an examination, bound him over for trial, in 
a bond with two sureties. But before the session of the 
eourt where the trial was to be held, Richardson and 
his two sureties, who were tories, fled to Nova Scotia. 
It seems from these incidents and some others related 
by Hewes, that nothing could be more vindictive than 


the spirit which marked the conduct of the loyalists at 
that particular crisis. He says that one Captain Wilson, 
who belonged to the 29th regiment of British Grana- 
diers, inveigled a number of negroes to poison their 
masters, and induced them to make an effort to draw 
into the plot others of their eolour and condition, by 
promising to protect them from punishment, in case 
they were detected. But a gentleman to whom some 
one of them betrayed the secret, procured a warrant, 
and had Wilson arrested, and brought before one Dinny, 
a magistrate, who, after examining the facts, ordered him 
to give bonds with sureties for his appearance and trial ; 
but after complying with the order of the magistrate, 
he and his sureties, who were tories, made their escape 
to Halifax. 

He relates also an instance of the savage dispostion 
of the British loyalists, evinced in the tragical fate of 
a Mr. Mollineux, who politely invited a number of Bri- 
tish officers to spend an evening at his house, some 
of whom, after partaking freely of his liberality, took 
occasion in his momentary absence, to infuse his wine 
with a fatal poison ; which, on returning into his room, 
he unsuspectingly swallowed, by means of which their 
murderous intentions were realized before the next 
morning, in the termination of his life. 

Mr. Mollineux was a decided and efficient whig, 
and was strongly opposed to the British policy of tax- 


ing her colonies.* Well may Americans deprecate 
just causes of civil dissentions, if such is the vindictive 
spirit, such some of the horrible evils which it may- 

- We have taken a cursory retrospect of the trago- 
comical scene of destroying the British tea ; but with 
respect to the expediency, or the wisdom of that mea- 
sure, a question may be raised in the minds of those who 
have not been very conversant with the political history 
of that event. 

Although they may understand the principle which 
led to the dissolution of our obligation of subjection to 
the British government, to wit, that the right of levying 
taxes belongs exclusively to those who have to pay 
them; yet they may not have satisfactory views of the 
necessity of destroying the tea, or any other article of 
commerce, in the sale of which by the British merchants, 
a tax, or duty, was to be paid by every American citizen 
who should purchase it. To the minds of those who 
reflect on this subject, two ways of avoiding this neces- 
sity may be suggested. Why might not the colony of 
Massachusetts have passed a law, prohibiting her citi- 
zens, under a suitable penalty, from purchasing or 

* Mollineux, together with Mr. Wm. Dinnie,'Doct. Warren, Doctor Church, 
Major Barber, Mr. Gabriel Johonnot, Mr. Proctor and Mr. Ezekel Cheerer, 
had been appointed by the people of Boston, a committee to ^demand of those 
persons who had received a commission as consignees of the tea, to resign it. 


using tea, or such other article ? In answer to this it 
may be said, that so strong had become the habit of 
using* that article, it would have been perhaps impossi- 
ble to prevent the secret evasions of the law. To aid 
and encourage such evasions there were numbers of 
tories scattered through the country, who acquiesced in 
the assumed right of the British government to collect 
such tax j and therefore such a law could not be adequate 
to its object. 

Besides, such a law might have been considered incom- 
patible with correct views of civil liberty; an infringement 
of the natural rights of man to use any of the productions 
of the earth, to which they were either by nature or by 
habit inclined. 

But if such a law might be considered inefficient in 
its operation, and of doubtful authority to control our 
natural rights, why might not the wisdom and the virtue 
of the people have been considered a sufficient guarantee 
against the use of the tea, and the consequent impo- 
sition of the tax ? It is well known that at that time there 
was a great majority of the people who were strongly 
opposed to the claim which the British government 
would maintain, of the right to tax the American colo- 
nies, without their being represented in parliament, 
and appeared unwilling to acquiesce in the decision of 
popular opinion on that subject. Why then might not 
that flagrant trespass upon the right of private property, 


and immense waste of a valuable article, of commerce, 
have been avoided ? Why might not the tea have been 
landed, in a safe confidence in the wisdom and patriotism 
of the people, that none but the tories would purchase it ; 
and that the great mass of the people, by a little self- 
denial, would aid in establishing a principle which they 
professed to believe was essential in the support of 
rational liberty, and the unalienable rights of man ? The 
answer to this question is very obvious, and explains the 
mystery of civil government, that the whole physical 
force of society is so easily restrained and controlled by 
the laws and regulations made only by a few individuals. 

Mankind have discovered that the strength, the 
virtue, and the wisdom of the human disposition is not 
sufficient to overcome the power of habit and passion, 
and that some individual sacrifices are indispensable to 
the peace, the safety, and the welfare of community ; 
that so strong are the propensities of our nature they 
cannot be subdued, without removing effectually the 
means of indulging them. 

The people of the colony of Massachusetts had, there- 
fore, believed there was no other means of avoiding the 
payment of a tax which they thought was unjust and 
oppressive, but by preventing the landing of the tea, 
which could not be effected by any other practicable 
means than the destroying it. It had been guarded by 
companies of volunteers, for twenty nights successively 


to prevent its being landed, as appears both by the accouut 
of Hewes, and the historians of that event ; and that the 
commanders of the British armed ships, which sur- 
rounded those that contained the tea, had proclaimed 
their determination to defend the landing of it under the 
fire of their cannon, if any opposition should be made 
to it after a certain day which they had designated. 

It will be recollected that at that time the American 
colonies had not declared themselves independent of the 
British government. We therefore had no legally 
organized authority to declare Avar against her ; and our 
acts of opposition to British power could be considered 
only as acts of rebellion. The forcibly invading places 
in their possession, and destroying their property, 
was such an act of hostility, as by the laws of nations, 
could be justified only in a state of actual war. It must 
therefore have been intended by the colony of Massa- 
chusetts, as an act declaratory of her disposition to en- 
gender a state of hostilities, and might be considered as 
an implied declaration of war ; while at the same time 
those who perpetrated the act, thereby made themselves 
liable to the penalties of the law of the British Parlia- 
ment ; however, therefore, the colony of Massachusetts 
might have intended to have indemnified them against 
any evils from these penalties, it was not in her power 
to make the security of that indemnity absolute. Hence 
the expediency of their acting in disguise, to avoid 


detection. Whatever of wisdom or good policy there 
might be ascribed to him who first suggested the extra- 
ordinary project of drowning the tea in Boston harbour, 
inasmuch as from the expediency of keeping it a pro- 
found secret, no individual has been designated as ex- 
clusively its author; those distinguished adventurers, 
whose desperate courage in the impulse of the moment, 
so directed their physical energies at that portentous 
crisis as to achieve the enterprise, had a right to claim 
all the glory of that event ; and in which all might 
have been equal sharers ; and all except Hewes, it is 
hoped, are receiving their just reward. His biography 
only will probably be preserved. 

That we may be enabled properly to estimate the 
nature and extent of his natural energies, and duly 
appreciate his conduct in that transaction, we should 
take into view the circumstances under which he 

He had none of those incitements to action which 
impel'' the hero to great and glorious deeds in the field of 
battle ; the honours and renown entailed to the con- 
queror ; the liberal, and often profuse remuneration to 
be awarded for his services, be the result of them what- 
ever it may ; the emotions enkindled by the trumpet's 
clangour, and the animating din of martial music ; "the 
pomp and circumstance of glorious war." By these 
exhilirating and potent excitements, a man of moderate 


capacity and prowess might, and often has, been im- 
pelled to glorious deeds. 

Hevves had none of these incitements to inspire his 
courage, or enkindle the zeal of enthusiasm. 

He volunteered his services to board a British ship, 
which was armed with deadly weapons, and manned 
with an adequate force to wield them efficiently, and 
that for the purpose of taking from them by force their 
property, the possession of which they had an undoubt- 
ed right to defend ; while he and his associates had no 
other weapon of offence than a tomahawk and a club ; 
and for the services which he thus volunteered, he was 
encouraged by no proffered remuneration ; the expedi- 
ency of profound secrecy would not permit him to 
demand any. The military force, not only in possession 
of the ship which he boarded, but in many other British 
ships which surrounded it, might have destroyed his 
life, and that of his associates, without hardly a possi- 
bility of escape. Neither could he have calculated, with 
any certainty, on any other fate. 

Although the object of destroying the tea was in de- 
fence of our civil rights, and of the unalienable rights 
of man, and was justified by a great majority of the 
people of the then British colonies in America, yet no 
remuneration, no indemnity was provided for those who 
should make this desperate attempt to accomplish this 



The venerable Hewes, when he proffered his services 
in aid of that signal event, had his life been sacrificed 
in the effort, knew well that his wife and orphan chil- 
dren must have been left to the cold charities of the 
world ; or had he escaped, as he fortunately did, he was 
exposed to detection by the treachery of a pretended 
friend, or of his fellow-assailants, the result of which, 
to him, might have been equally disastrous and fatal. 

Whatever incitement might have induced others to 
engage in that desperate enterprise, it cannot be believed 
that Hewes had any other interest in that event, but what 
was common to his country. 

Whether the parliament of Great Britain had a right 
to tax the people of their colonies in America, was a 
national question, which belonged to the people of the 
respective colonies, in their corporate capacities, respec- 
tively to settle. If they could not thus settle it amicably 
by compromise, or otherwise, to settle it by the power of 
their respective sovereignties. 

The right claimed by Great Britain of taxing her 
colonies in America without their consent, or without 
their being represented in parliament, by being denied 
by the American people, was made a question, the deci- 
sion of which was not only to effect the rights of the 
people of England and America, but those of all other 
nations in similar circumstances throughout the world. 
It was calling in question a right which had been exei- 


cised, not only by England, but by other independent 
nations over their distant colonies, and acquiesced in for 

The colony of Massachusetts had come to a fixed 
resolution to permit Great Britain no longer to exercise 
this assumed right of taxing their people. The project 
of destroying the tea was not from any indisposition to 
admit it as an article of commerce. By indulging in 
the use of it, the habit had become so strong, that it was 
sought for with eagerness, not only as a pleasent beve- 
rage, but by many was considered as one of those neces- 
saries with which they were very unwilling to dispense. 
That class of the people, therefore, rather than be de- 
prived of the use of it, would very willingly have sub- 
jected themselves to the additional expense of the duty 
to be imposed upon it. Their abstinence from the use 
of it, to which they so generally and willingly subjected 
themselves, evinced a strong tendency of public opinion 
to oppose the principle of taxing the people of their 
colony, avowed by the British parliament, and to con- 
sider it purely as a national concern. 

It was indeed so, though perhaps at that time it might 
have been more appropriately called a colonial con- 
cern, as we had at that time no confederative power to 
command the co-operative aid of the other states; and 
the exigency of that crisis was such, that the colony had 
not time to give to individuals its authority to destroy 


the tea, or to take any measures to prevent the landing of 
it. Those, therefore, who volunteered their services at 
that time to destroy it, could have had no guarantee for 
their indemnity but the spirit of the times, and the favour 
of popular opinion, which could do no more than to 
wield in their defence the whole power of the colony 
of Massachusetts, while at the same time it must have 
been in conflict with the power of Great Britain. Under 
these appalling circumstances, therefore, it is very ob- 
vious that Hewes and his associates must have acted 
wholly upon their own responsibility, in a matter which 
related to the general welfare of their country, and to 
the rights of mankind. 

•In a war of rebellion, waged against a government, 
perhaps at that time the most powerful in the world, 
and which assumed to itself the right of commanding 
the whole physical force, every effort was made, not 
only to coerce the American colonists into subjection, 
but to expose the cause in which they were engaged, to 
the contempt and ridicule of the world ; while the Ame- 
ricans were equally engaged in setting at defiance the 
boasted power of Great Britain, to disannul their autho- 
rity, resist their claims, and ridicule their pretensions. 
This object was evinced in the diversified scenes which 
distinguished the tragi-comic character of the American 
war of independence. Among the subjects which in- 
spired the wisdom of our sages and the spirit of our 


poets, no single event engaged more of the public 
attention at that time, than the violent seizure and de- 
struction of the British tea in Boston harbour, which 
was noticed by a celebrated epic* of those times, under 
the assumed title of McFingal, in the following ludi- 
crous strain : 

" What furies rag'd when you in sea, 
In shape of Indians, drown'd the tea ; 
When your gay sparks, fatigu'd to watch it, 
Assum'd the moccasin and hatchet ; 
With wampum'd blankets hid their laces, 
And like their sweethearts, prim'd their faces ; 
When not a red-coat dare oppose, 
And scarce a tory show'd his nose ; 
While Hutchinson, for sure retreat, 
Manoeuvred to his country seat, 
And thence affrighted in the suds, 
Stole off bareheaded through the woods."t 

The violent seizure of an article of valuable com- 
merce, belonging to the subjects of a powerful govern- 
ment, which it was well known would disavow the act, 
and be disposed to avenge the wrong, might well have 
excited, in the poet and his countrymen, apprehensions 
of the disastrous results that might be expected. But 
the tragic complexion of the opening scene which this 
enterprize presented, was soon changed, and succeeded 
by one so comic in its character, and yet so strikingly 
marked with something of the marvellous, that the spirit 

* Hon. John Trumbull. f See page 6, 7. 


of the furies might well be supposed to have been 
invoked on that occasion. When a few citizens of Bos- 
ton, in the grotesque visage and costume of the sons of 
the forest, were seen to wield with triumphant success 
the tomahawk and club against the appalling aspect of 
the cannon's mouth, and regardless of the terrific effect 
with which their opposers had threatened to use them ; 
when a few undisciplined volunteers were seen to 
spread confusion and dismay into the martial array of 
armed ships, and to awe into silence the pompous dis- 
play of regular troops, skilled in the arts and discipline 
of war; and by the majesty of their courage, to drive 
the tories skulking to their hiding places, and Hutchin- 
son, the chief magistrate, scampering into the country 
for a safe retreat, the dreary forebodings for the fate of 
Hewes and his associates are suddenly relieved, and we 
are at once impelled to the exclamation of the Roman 
poet, on another occasion, " quam teneatis risum."* 

Two paradoxical traits in the human character were 
in this event exhibited in their most striking character : 
the rash courage, inspired by the ardour of enthusiasm, 
and the pusillanimous despondency, from groundless 
apprehensions of popular danger, generated by a con- 
sciousness of guilt, or the want of proper motives to 
excite to action the physical energies. 

* Who conld help Laughing 1 


The boasted courage of the British lion stood appalled 
before the majesty of a Boston mob ! 

Those who consecrated the waters of the Atlantic by 
the novel oblation to Neptune, may well be supposed to 
have been nurtured in the cradle of liberty. 

During the history of this event, the American ladies 
exhibited a spirit of patriotism and self-devotedness, 
highly honorable to their sex. 

The celebrated heroine has been noticed, who, in the 
disguise of a soldier, served her country for three years, 
during the war of the revolution, and whose chivalric 
mind could only be subdued by a seemingly fatal 
wound, which compelled her to expose the weakness 
of her sex. Nor less magnanimous was that patriotism 
which inspired the women of our country to resist the 
dominion of an inveterate habit, by abandoning the use 
of an article w T hich they had considered not only an 
indispensable constituent of their living, but a highly 
palatable and agreeable stimulant. 

Although among the male part of the citizens many 
had acquired a propensity to indulge in the use of that 
article as a delicious beverage, their various habits and 
appetites had accustomed them to resort to other substi- 
tutes ; abstinence from the use of it could, therefore, im- 
pose upon them no evil, or require of them such a 
sacrifice as a test of their fortitude or patriotism. 

But not so with the fair daughters of America ; to 


them, the abstinence required was an evil ; to their mag- 
nanimity the appeal was to be made. 

Such is the power of their influence over men, that 
it cannot be resisted, without extinguishing the endear- 
ments and violating the obligations which bind together 
society, and bless the condition of man. Had the 
women of our country, in 1773, formed a resolution that 
they would not forego the use of a delicious and exhili- 
rating luxury, even for the great purpose of aiding their 
fathers, their husbands and brothers, in resisting the 
unjust claims of a foreign power ; had they with united 
voices said to their countrymen, if you want the liberty 
of using the natural productions of the earth without 
being taxed therefor, by the usurpation and despotism of 
a foreign power, declare yourselves independent, and 
compel that power to respect and acknowledge you as 
such ; not by the humiliating means of denying to your 
wives and daughters the indulgence of a lawful appe- 
tite, but by that courage, by the chivalric enterprise, 
worthy of our venerable ancestors. Had their views 
been thus with united voices expressed, the tea, instead 
of being immersed in the Atlantic ocean, would proba- 
bly have been landed and consumed, and the tax there- 
on paid by the American people ; and then might the 
acquisition of our independence have been protracted 
even to the present time. But the women of America 
were neither unmindful of their influence, or regardless 


of their duty. However uncongenial to the cravings 
of habit or appetite, the evil or inconvenience of self- 
denial was not to be put in competition with the exigen- 
cies of their country's independence and glory. They 
were not to incur the imputation of the degenerate 
daughters of illustrious sires. They caught the spirit, 
which in other times and countries, had crowned the 
female character with imperishable laurels. 

When the Romans were once pressed with a foreign 
enemy, the ladies voluntarily contributed all their rings 
and jewels, to assist the government under exigencies, 
which, at the very zenith of Roman glory, acquired for 
them a title to distinguished honours ; and this for aiding 
their country's cause, by parting only with their super- 
fluous toys. 

But by a noble act of self-denial, in controlling an 
appetite created by the laws of nature and society, the 
indulgence of which had, by the force of habit, become 
necessary ; and this not merely to aid their country in 
the acquisition of a victory over the common enemy, but 
for a purpose vastly more important — that of effecting a 
reformation in the great principles of international law, 
intended to improve, not only the condition of their own 
country, but of the world, in all ages to come. By this 
noble act of the American women, in discarding the use 
of tea, they displayed a character worthy of all praise ; 


a character worthy of that illustrious personage* of their 
sex, whose enlarged and liberal policy, whose noble and 
philanthropic views, contributed so efficiently to the 
origin of our history, and to the discovery of that place, 
so splendidly conspicuous, which our country exhibits 
on the map of the world. 

Immediately after the tea was destroyed, continued 
Hewes, Boston was invested by British troops, both by 
sea and land, for several months. When Governor 
Gage, who was appointed to supersede Governor 
Hutchinson, proposed to us, that if we would deliver up 
our arms, we should be permitted to depart in safety. 
After complying with his request, a committee was ap- 
pointed to inform him, that, having complied with the 
terms upon which he had in his proclamation proposed 
to liberate us, it was requested of him that he would in- 
form the people at what precise time they might be 
permitted to depart in safety. The governor replied to 
the committee, that he would give us an answer in three 
days. But before that time had expired, he sent a 
strong guard, took the arms, put them into the council 
chamber, and thus having disarmed us, prohibited any 
of the males, who were fit to bear arms, from leaving 
the town. 

Soon after this took place, the provisions on which 
the British were relying for their support, were taken 

* Isabella, Queen of Spain. 


by our privateers. The governor then made procla- 
mation, that the people of Boston might be permitted to 
go out for the purpose of fishing, provided they would 
strictly comply with certain regulations which he had 
established, for the purpose, as will be seen, of relieving 
himself and his troops from the extreme exigencies of 
the condition to which they were subjected, as a just 
retribution for his treachery, rather than from any dis- 
position to favour the people of Boston. The provisions 
contained in his regulations were, that we must not go 
out before the sun rose, and must come into the town 
again before the sun had set. And if we could not get 
into town before the sun had set, we were to come under 
the inspection of the ship Somerset, a seventy-four, and 
not come in till morning : and in the morning when we 
come up to town, go and report ourselves to the main 
guard, and have a sentinel put over us, until the sun 
had risen the next morning ; and then not to sell any 
fish to the inhabitants, until the British soldiers were 
first all supplied, and then not depart again without 
leave from the sergeant of the guard. 

I subjected myself to those regulations for nine weeks. 
I was indeed one among the great number of those who 
were under the necessity of submitting to them. But 
at the end of that time I made my escape in my 
fishing boat, together with two other men, who were 
with me in the same boat. In thus making my escape, 


I was much gratified to realize the apprehensions of 
Admiral Graves, who, when I proposed to subject my- 
self to his fishing regulations, observed to me, that he 
knew from my countenance, I intended to run away : 
and told me that as sure as I did, if ever he retook me, 
he would hang me up at the yard arm, in twenty-four 
hours. But he has not been gratified with a sight of 
me since I made my escape. 

I went on shore at a safe place, and repaired strait- 
way to my family at Wrentham, whither I had sent 
them, as a safe residence during my imprisonment in 

Hewes relates an incident that occurred before his 
escape from Boston, that illustrated the nature and dif- 
ferent degrees of patriotism, by which men may be 
actuated, who are professedly engaged in. the same po- 
litical cause. 

As I was walking one day in the street, says he, I 
met one of the British soldiers, who accosted me in a 
very familiar manner, and asked me why the rebels did 
not make an effort to take from the loyalists the fort, 
of which they had the possession ; you can take it, says 
he, if you wish to do it, without any difficulty. Just as 
he was speaking to me, there came along a British 
officer, and reproved him very rashly, for conversing 

so familiar with a d d rebel in the street ; and with 

equal rashness also, accosted me for my presumption, in 


speaking to one of his majesty's loyal subjects ; and to 
punish me for my insolence, as he would term it, made 
a violent onset upon me with brick-bats and stones, 
which he kept flying- about my head, until I made my 
escape by turning a short corner, into another street, 
and secured my retreat, by shutting myself up in my 
shop. But, apprehensive that the place of my conceal- 
ment would soon be discovered, I found it expedient to 
abandon it, and committed myself to the safe keeping of 
my uncle, who resided in Boston at that time. 

It appears that the soldier who thus accosted Hewes, 
was quite willing to fall into the hands of those who 
were called the enemies of his country, while his supe- 
rior officer was greatly excited at every appearance of 
neutrality in the conduct of the soldier. 

Were the emoluments of those who are clothed with 
authority, either in the civil or military state, reduced 
to the standard of compensation for the ordinary servi- 
ces of life, the extraordinary zeal of pretended patriotism 
would probably be greatly abated, if not entirely ex- 

The few months that I remained at Wrentham, con- 
tinued Hewes, I was continually reflecting upon the 
unwarrantable sufferings inflicted on the citizens of 
Boston, by the usurpation and tyranny of Great Britain, 
and my mind was excited with an unextinguishable de- 
sire to aid in chastising them. 


I had fully resolved to take a privateering cruise, and 
when I informed my wife of my fixed resolution, and 
requested her to have my clothes in readiness in a short 
time, by a day appointed, although she was greatly 
afflicted at the prospect of our separation, and my ab- 
sence from a numerous family of children, who needed 
a father's parental care, she without a murmur reluc- 
tantly complied with my request. On the day which I 
had appointed to take my departure, I came into the 
room where my wife was, and inquired if all was 
ready? She pointed in silence to my knapsack. I 
observed, that I would put it on and walk with it a few 
rods, to see if it was rightly fitted to carry with ease. 
I went out, to return no more until the end of my 
cruise. The manly fortitude which becomes the soldier, 
could not overcome the tender sympathies of my nature. 
I had not courage to encounter the trial of taking a for- 
mal leave. When I had arrived at a solitary place on 
my way, I sat down for a few moments, and sought to 
allay the keenness of my grief by giving vent to a pro- 
fusion of tears. 

The scene of his parting with his family at this time, 
might well furnish for the pencilled canvas or the poet's 
song, a subject of intense interest. That a man, whose 
devotedness and tenderness of affection to his family was 
never questioned, should voluntarily absent himself, and 
embark his peace, his safety, hazard life and every thing 


in the service of his country, is a comment upon his 
character which a Roman patriot might well envy, in 
the best days of Roman glory ; in those days when her 
personal self-devotion could yield every thing to coun- 
try, and, as it were, identify his own individual existence 
with hers. 

It was in reply to a doubt I suggested to him, as to 
the correctness of his conduct in absenting himself from 
his family, so dependent, and so dear to him, for the 
uncertain result of an object, however patriotic and 
praiseworthy, and without a sure prospect of even a com- 
pensation for his services on his safe return, that he 
emphatically reiterated what he had before remarked, 
that the unwarrantable sufferings inflicted on the citizens 
of Boston by the usurpation and tyranny of Great Bri- 
tain, had excited in his mind an unextinguishable desire 
to aid in chastising them and securing our indepen- 

When we compare the selfish rapacity with which, 
at the present day, the insect pretenders to patriotism 
would riot in the spoils won by the valour of those 
whose conduct was distinguished by such instances of 
self-devotion, which signalized that period of our history, 
the very blood almost freezes at the appalling aspect of 
our national degeneracy. 

I then pursued my route to Providence, in Rhode 
Island, continued Hewes, and on my arrival there, inv 


mediately stipulated with Captain Thomas Stacy to go 
with him on a cruise of seven weeks. When that term 
had expired, and we had seen no enemy during the 
time, we were discouraged, and threatened to mutiny, 
unless he would return, as we had served out the time 
for which we had stipulated. The captain then pro- 
mised us, that if we would continue with him one week 
longer, provided we did not see any thing during that 
time, he would return; to which we assented. The 
next Sunday after, we espied a large ship, which we 
took to be a British frigate. We were ordered to down 
sails and go to fishing, thereby to deceive them ; and 
when she came by us, she took us to be only a fisher- 

After she had passed us, our captain said to us, my 
boys, if you will stand by me, we will take that ship. 
We immediately gave chase, and overtook her about an 
hour after dark. The captain hailed us, and asked us 
where we were from : our captain answered, from St. 
Johns, Newfoundland. I am a King's tender, and be- 
long to his majesty, King George. Our captain then 
hailed him, and he said he was from Quebec, bound to 
London. Our captain then said to him, come aboard, 
and bring your papers, that we may see whether you 
are a d d Yankee or not. He came aboard accord- 
ingly, and brought his papers. Our captain then took 
him by the hand, and said to him, you are welcome 


aboard the sloop Diamond, belonging to the United 
States. You are my prisoner. Finding his mistake, 
and that resistance would be useless, he surrendered 
without a struggle. 

Our captain then sent her in to Rhode Island, with 
George Babcock as prize master. She was a fine prize, 
loaded with fir and sweet oil, and was commanded by 
Captain Daggett. 

In about a week after, we came alongside of another 
ship, and asked her where she was from. She answered, 
from St. Johns, Newfoundland ; we ordered her to 
strike, and she immediately surrendered, having nothing 
to defend herself with. She was commanded by CapL 
Welch. We sent her in also, with a prize master, to 
Rhode Island. 

After that, on the same cruise, we took a brig laden 
with West India rum and sugar. 

While on this cruise off the banks of Newfound- 
land, one day a rope upon which three of us were 
standing, broke, and let us fall into the sea. Just as we 
fell, the vessel rose, and knocked us all under her bot- 
tom. When she had slipped over us, we rose at the 
stern of her, and saw ropes thrown over for us to take 
hold of; I caught hold one of them, but the vessel was 
under such quick way, the rope slipped through my 
fingers, so that not more than an inch or two of it was 
within my grasp ; but I caught hold of it with my left 


hand, and told them on board to haul away. In this 
situation an Irishman had caught hold of my coat, and 
was hauling me under the water. I endeavoured to 
kick him off, but it was fortunate for him that I could 
not, as they succeeded in hauling us both in. The 
other one floated on a hen-coop until he was taken in. 
After we were on board, Captain Stacy said to me, 
Hewes, you will yet be hanged ; I hope not sir, said I. 
Yes you will, he humorously replied, or you would 
have been drowned now. 

But to whatever untimely exit I might have been, or 
now am destined, having twice so narrowly escaped a 
watery grave, I cannot but indulge a strong confidence 
that I was not born to be drowned. The effort by 
which I was enabled to raise myself to the deck, must 
have been the effect of an involuntary or spasmodic 
grasp of the hand, as I was so full of water, when I was 
brought on board, that I could not stand. 

This cruise, intended for seven weeks, continued 
three months ; when we returned to Providence. 

I then returned to my family ; and having made 
comfortable provision for them in my farther absence, I 
again shipped aboard at Boston, and sailed on a cruise 
with Captain Samuel Smedly, of New-London, Connec- 

After being out nine days, we met with a heavy gale 
of wind, which kept us to the pump eight days and 


nights, to keep us from sinking. On this cruise, one 
night we came up with a French ship. On hailing her, 
the ca'ptain answered in French, so that our captain 
could not understand him ; but we had a French gen- 
tleman on board, who interpreted for us ; we found she 
was from St. Domingo, bound to France. Our French 
passenger invited her captain to take supper with us, 
and while on board our vessel, asked him if he saw any 
British vessel. He told us he had parted with two 
large ships, with letters of marque, deep loaded. After 
the French captain had gone aboard of his own ship, 
our captain ordered the boatswain to call all hands 
upon deck, and then told us, that from information re- 
ceived from the captain of the French vessel, if we 
would vary our course a little, we should come across 
the British ships, by the time the sun w r as an hour high 
in the morning ; and asked us if we were willing to 
give chase to them; we answered, we were all ready 
to go and risk our lives with him ; — we set up all the 
next night, and prepared for battle ; we made bandages, 
scraped lint, so that we might be prepared to dress 
wounds, as we expected to have a hard time of it. The 
next morning, when the sun was about two hours high, 
we espied them. The captain of the British ship hailed 
us, and asked where we were from, and where bound. 
We replied from Boston, and are on a cruise. 

Then, says he, haul down them colours, or I will sink 


you. Our captain replied, there is time enough for that 
yet; two can play at this game, you must know. 
They then gave us a broadside, and overshot us. We 
gave three cheers, and kept up the tune of Yankee doo- 
dle. They then gave us the second broadside, and un- 
dershot us. Our captain then ordered our helmsman 
to bear away ahead, till he could give them a broadside. 
We soon gave them one, which killed nine of their 
crew, cut their rudder wheel to pieces, so that their ship 
was rendered unmanageable. We hove the foretopsail 
back, and came up to the windward of them, and gave 
them another broadside, and brought down the foretop- 
mast, and foretopgallant mast. Our captain then or- 
dered our hands to put on their boarding-caps immedi- 
ately, which we did, and running along side of them, 
jumped aboard, and they gave up the ship to our mercy, 
and appeared to be horribly panic struck. She had a 
valuable cargo of warlike stores and provisions. 

We then made sail after the other ship, and in about 
two hours came up with her, and without opposition 
took her also. She was a letter of marque, and her 
cargo the same as the other. One of the ships mounted 
eighteen, the other sixteen guns. Our vessel mounted 
eighteen six*es only. We sent them to Boston, with a 
prize master, and then sailed to South Carolina, to 
repair our ship. While we were in Charleston, the 
governor of South Carolina informed us, that the British 


had two vessels off the bar, that had taken thirty-four 
of our vessels ; and proposed to us to go out on a five 
days cruise in pursuit of them. Our captain put it to 
vote, and it was found we were unanimously agreed to 
make the cruise. A number of gentlemen from Charles- 
ton proposed to accompany us on the cruise, to which we 
readily assented. We sailed about one o'clock in the af- 
ternoon of the day that the pilot carried us over the bar. 

After we got out, the captain ordered one man to the 
foretopmast head to look out, and another also at the 
head of the maintopmast. In less than an hour after, 
the man at the foretopmast espied a sail. Our captain 
asked him what she was. He could net tell for the dis- 
tance. The man at the maintopmast cried out at the 
same time, another sail ; and we soon came so near to 
them, that we discovered them to be two sloops ; and the 
men at mast head said they were the two sloops that 
had been cruising, and told captain Smedly he would 
have his belly full of them. 

House all your guns, boys, said our captain to his 
men ; shut all your port-holes fast, and hide yourselves, 
all except just enough to work the ship. The sloops were 
about a mile ahead of us. They were the Vengeance, 
and the Wilful Murderer. The sloop Wilful Murderer 
came up along side, and hailed — ahoy! the ship 
ahoy ! from whence came you? From South Carolina, 
says our captain. Where are you bound ? they inquired. 


Alongside you, you rascals ; out guns, boys ! haul 
down your colours, or I will sink you instantly, says our 
captain ; round too, and come under my stern. 

She surrendered to us, without firing a gun. The 
Vengeance, in the mean time, put about and run away 
from us. But in an hour, we were along side of her, 
and took her also, without a gun being fired. We re- 
turned with both our prizes to Charleston, an hour be- 
fore the sun was down, and came to an anchor at Fort 

As soon as information of our successful return was 
received, we were saluted from Fort Sullivan and Fort 
Johnson, and colours were hoisted from every gentle- 
man's house, who was not a tory. A committee was 
chosen by the citizens of Charleston to sell our prizes. 
They were sold for so much, that each share of the 
hands amounted to two hundred and fifty dollars. But 
some pretext was always offered for withholding my 
share from me ; so that I have never received one cent 
of it. 

The governor filled out a cartel, and sent the prison- 
ers we had taken to New- York, and had them ex- 
changed for an equal number of equal rank ; and after 
we had effected the exchange, we returned to Boston. 

On our passage from South Carolina to Boston, we 
came across a large topsail schooner, with a crew of gen* 
tlemen and ladies, (tories,) making their escape to St. 


Augustine. We permitted them to pass, on giving up 
all their money, which was found to be a very consider- 
able sum. 

On our return to Boston, we found our two letters of 
marque, which we had taken and ordered for that place, 
safely arrived. Soon after, there was a hot press for 
men to go and recapture Penobscot, which had been 
taken by the British. I volunteered to go with a Mr. 
Saltonstall, who was to be the commander of the expedi- 
tion, which for some cause, however, failed ; and I then 
got a furlough to go home to my family, which still resi- 
ded at Wrentham. Soon after, I went to Boston, and 
requested of Captain Smedly my discharge from the ship. 
But he seemed to think he could not with propriety 
give it. I then requested him to pay me my wages. 
He told me he was about fitting out an expedition to 
the West Indies, and could not, without great incon- 
venience, spare the money then ; but said he would call 
on his way to Providence, where he was going in a 
short time, and would then pay me ; but I never saw 
him afterwards. Neither have I, at any time since, re- 
ceived a farthing, either of my share of prize money or 

The shop, also, which I had built in Boston I lost. 
After the British troops were stationed in that town, 
they appropriated it for the purpose of a wash and lumber 
house, and eventually pulled it down and burnt it up. 


After I had concluded my services as a sailor, I was 
called upon to serve with the militia from time to time, 
until the close of the war. The general destination of 
the troops with which I served, was to guard the coasts, 
and prevent the incursions of the enemy, in the most 
exposed parts between Boston and New- York, extend- 
ing also our points of defence as far up the Hudson as 
West Point. 

In one expedition, which was undertaken some con- 
siderable time after the capture of Burgoyne, at Still- 
water, I was out four months and a half, under the 
command of Captain Thomas George, to guard the 
coast in Rhode-Island, during which we had an engage- 
ment with the British troops at a place called Cobble- 
hill, in which we beat them with a considerable slaugh- 
ter of their men. But soon after, on their receiving a 
reinforcement, we were obliged to retreat from the 
Island. While on that expedition, we had orders to 
go at a certain time on a secret expedition to destroy 
a British fort. 

After we got into the boat which was to carry our 
men, our orders were not to speak a word loud, until 
we arrived at the place of our destination. But some 
of our men becoming impatient, from the fatigue of 
rowing, occasionally inquired of some one how far 
they had still to row ; they were overheard by some of 
the British, aboard of one of their frigates, which lay in 


the river ; and when the moon rose over the hill, they 
espied us, fired upon us, and killed one of our men. It 
then became indispensable for us to retreat back to our 

At another time when I was stationed with a detach- 
ment of the militia at West Point, to guard that post, 
under the command of General McDougal, a number of 
us were ordered to go out one night under the com- 
mand of Captain Barney, to surprise and capture a 
number of cow-boys, who were supposed to be collected 
together at a certain place in the woods not far distant. 
We succeeded in the enterprise, took twenty-five of 
them, and brought them in the same night. 

The various incidents related by Hewes, respecting 
his services as a soldier during the revolutionary war, 
are not intended by him to claim for himself any pe- 
culiar distinction, but what he should in common with 
others of his rank ; but have been related, only in con- 
firmation of his assertion respecting the general devo- 
tedness of his service to the case of his country. When 
he was not engaged in his cruising expeditions as a 
sailor, he asserts that he was called upon almost in- 
cessantly to do military duty, and that he never was 
disposed to withhold his actual personal services, until 
he found that the extreme exigencies of his family re- 
quired some other provision than he could obtain for 
his services as a soldier. But he was never relieved 


from the burden of expense in support of the war. For 
no sooner was he induced by the pressure of his cir- 
cumstances to make an effort to withdraw his services 
from the army, than a regulation was made, requiring 
all those who were able to do military duty, to either 
serve when called upon, or to form themselves into 
classes of nine men, and each class to hire an able 
bodied man, on such terms as they could, and pay him 
for his services, while they were to receive their pay of 
the state. In compliance with this regulation, he gained 
a class which hired a man, who demanded of us specie* 
while we received nothing of the government but paper 
money, of very little value, and continually depre- 
ciating. By this means I was excused from any other 
service during the war, which, however, did not con- 
tinue long after. 

Since the close of the revolutionary war, Hewes has 
been buried, as it were, in utter obscurity, engaged in 
laborious pursuits, either in some agricultural or me- 
chanical employment, by which he thought he could 
best provide for his family. 

From the time he was seven years old, he has hardly 
had leisure allowed him from his manual occupation to 
procure even the first rudiments of a common school 
education. In every thing, therefore, which relates to 
intellectual capacity and improvement, he is a simple 
child of nature ; and if he has erer indulged a secret 


ambition for any distinction, for which his talents might 
have entitled him, the inevitable destinies of his condi- 
tion have closed against him every avenue to any cele- 
brity, to which by the usages of the world he could 
expect to be admitted. 

Had not a mistaken policy, or perhaps a groundless 
apprehension of danger, or some other cause, concealed 
from the knowledge of the world, the destroyers of the 
British tea at Boston, in seventeen hundred and seventy- 
three, Hewes and the other of the tragi-comic actors 
in that event, would not have wanted biographers until 
this time. 

The injunction of secrecy heretofore imposed on the 
guests of the Boston Tea Party, is no longer a matter 
of expediency or policy. And it well becomes a grate- 
ful people to evince the magnanimity of their philan- 
thropy and their patriotism, by an effort to arrest from 
the oblivion to which imperious circumstances have so 
long consigned one of their number, the perpetuity of 
whose memory has been so liberally aided by the laws 
of nature, in the endowment of his preservative faculties. 

I had learned from some of his family, that since he 
has resided in this part of the country, he had made 
one visit to the place of his nativity, and knowing that 
very great changes had taken place, during his long ab- 
sence, I was solicitous to learn from him, the compara- 
tive views which the former and present condition of 


Boston had presented to his mind ; and on my request- 
ing him to give me some account of the most prominent 
incidents attending his visit at that place, he proceeded 
to give in substance the following relation. 

It is now, said he, about fifty-nine years since 1 
resided in Boston with my family ; neither had I visited 
the place myself, except a day or two on business, and 
more than forty years ago ; when some time, according 
to my best recollection, in the year 1821, I formed a 
resolution to visit, probably for the last time, the place 
of my nativity. I was induced to this conclusion from 
various circumstances. I had at that time some relatives 
residing in Boston, with whom an interview would be 
highly gratifying. Among those whom I recollect, 
were Robert Hewes, my cousin; Brook Hewes, my 
nephew, the son of my brother Shubael; my brother's 
daughter, the wife of Mr. Honeyman ; Captain Samuel 
Hewes, my brother's son, and Captain Samuel Sumner, 
my wife's brother. 

I had also some inducements to go at that time, from 
considerations of a pecuniary nature. I had been in- 
formed that my brother Daniel, who had resided in 
Boston, was dead, and had by his will left me a small 
legacy, and also some legacies to my sons, who resided 
in this section of the country, all of which amounted to 
a considerable sum. 

I was greatly animated, too, in this undertaking, by 


a strong desire once more to review those objects which 
had imparted to my mind its first impressions, and 
created to the world its most indissoluble attachments ; 
and I had fondly anticipated, by an interview with some 
of the associates of my boyhood and youth, to revive in 
my recollection many of the sportive scenes and interest- 
ing incidents in which Ave had mutually participated. 

With these objects in view, I commenced my journey 
from Richfield, the place of my present residence, 
accompanied by my son Robert, in the 87th year of my 
age. We travelled in a one horse wagon, and after a 
journey of five days, arrived at Boston. After visiting 
my relations, I began to inquire and look for some of 
my former acquaintance, who had been the intimate 
associates of my youthful days. But, alas ! I looked 
in vain. They were gone. Neither were those who 
once knew them as I did, to be found. The place 
where I drew my first breath and formed my most 
endearing attachments, had to me become a land of 
strangers. Not only had my former companions and 
friends disappeared, but the places of their habitations 
were occupied by those who could give no account of 
them. The house in which I was born was not to be 
found, and the spot where it stood could not be ascer- 
tained by any visible object. , 

The whole scenery about me seemed like the work 
of enchantment. Beacon hill was levelled, and a pond 


on which had stood three mills, was filled up with its 
contents ; over which two spacious streets had been laid 
and many elegant fabrics erected. The whole street, 
from Boston Neck to the Long Wharf, had been built 
up. It was to me almost as a new town, a strange city; 
I could hardly realize that I was in the place of my 
nativity. While standing one day in the market, and 
viewing the busy throng around me, the attention of an 
aged man appeared to be attracted by my presence ; and 
after looking steadfastly in my face a few moments, 
passed slowly, and stopping suddenly, stood motionless, 
as if in a reverie, but he soon returned, and by his in- 
quisitive survey of my person led me to believe that he 
was determined to acquire some knowledge of me. Sir, 
said I to him, I believe you intend to know who I am. 
I have been thinking, replied he, that I have known 
something of you heretofore. Was you not a citizen of 
Boston at the time the British tea was destroyed in Bos- 
ton harbour ? I replied that I was, and was one of 
those who aided in throwing it into the water. He then 
inquired who commanded the division to which I be- 
longed in that affair ; I told him one Leonard Pitt. So 
he did mine, said he ; and I had believed there was a 
man by the name of Hewes aboard the same ship with 
me, and I think you must be that man. We retired 
from the crowd and took a social glass together, and 
after a short conversation, in which we called to each 


other's recollection some of the interesting and amusing 
incidents of that eventful period, when we were fellow 
citizens and sufferers in the cause of American liberty, 
we parted, never to meet again. He could give me no 
account of my former companions. I found he as well 
as myself had outlived the associates of his youthful 

This accidental acquaintance is the first, and will 
probably be the last, I shall ever have with any of those 
who were concerned with me in the affair of drowning 
the British tea. 

At another time, as I was walking in the street, a man 
who had not the appearance of very advanced age, 
accosted me, by asking me if my name was not Hewes, 
and said he thought he had some recollection of me ; 
but having had no previous knowledge of him, I was 
not disposed to encourage an interview, and Ave soon 
parted ; neither do I even recollect his name. Those 
of our countrymen who have lived to an advanced age, 
and visited the place of their nativity after a long absence, 
and witnessed the sensible mutability of human affairs 
and the changes to which the progress of time is conti- 
nually subjecting all terrestrial objects, will easily con- 
ceive the painful excitement with which Hewes must 
have been affected. 

Not only had the thousand objects which wake into 
life the tender emotions of filial and fraternal sympathy, 


disappeared, but the political condition of the country 
had undergone an entire change. 

About sixty years before, when Hewes was compel- 
led by the threatening aspect of the war to remove his 
family from Boston, the American revolution, which 
terminated in our independence, had just commenced 
its progress, and that town had become the first intend- 
ed victim of British vengeance against her colonies ; 
while the spirit of opposition and of liberty had awoke 
into life and animation the physical and intellectual 
energies of the American people ; and the confused 
murmur of the multitude of citizens, sailors and sol- 
diers who were crowding the streets, like the terrific 
sound that precedes the earthquake, warned them of 
that devastating and bloody conflict, which was to conti- 
nue for eight long years. Hewes had lived to see 
those years pass away, and half a century after them. 
While he surveyed the docks where lay the British 
ships loaded with the poisonous herb, which had been 
dashed from the lips of his countrymen in the dead 
silence of the night, amidst the clattering of an hundred 
tomahawks ; where he had seen floating in terrific ma- 
jesty the ships of a powerful enemy, armed with the 
munitions of war, and threatening death and devasta- 
tion ; he now beheld only those which were bearing in 
their bosoms the fruits of a peaceful commerce with all 
nations, the treasures of every clime. Well might his 


manly spirit exult in the proud recollection that he had 
contributed his full share in achieving this auspicious 
and triumphant change in the destinies of his country. 

But man is a social being, and the happiness to be 
derived from the exuberance of his enjoyments is always 
imperfect without the participation of his fellow men; 
and in no individual could this trait be more conspicu- 
ous than in Hewes. His cheerful and communicative 
mind needed some kindred spirit to partake with him 
the luxury of those exhilirating reflections which the 
recollections of the past and the contemplation of the 
present might offer. But if he looked around for the 
partners of his heroism, and inquired, where are they? 
Echo only could answer, " where are they ?" He stood 
alone among the monuments of the fame which he had 
well purchased by his courage, by his labours, and 
above all, by his patient endurance of deprivation, and 
almost a solitary sojourner in the world. 

Well might he have sought from the solitude of his 
obscurity and the endearments of his aged partner, 
whom he had left in his distant retreat, the only conso- 
lation and the only reward he was destined to antici- 

After a residence of about three days only, he took, as 
he believed, his final departure from the place of his 
nativity, and returned to the vicinity of his present resi- 
dence, where he has remained until the present time. 


Whatever may be thought of the policy of destroying 
the British tea in Boston harbour, or of the expediency 
of concealing the names of those who had a personal 
agency in that enterprize, it was an event which gave 
to the American character a renown for magnanimity, 
for fortitude, and for heroism, unprecedented among the 
nations of the earth. 

For this renown, great and glorious as it may be in 
its final results upon the political destinies of mankind, 
the American people were indebted to the agency of a 
few individuals, and to no one of those, perhaps, more 
than to the subject of this memoir. 

In proportion to the importance that not only the con- 
dition of the then American colonies, but of the world 
gave to that event, may that of those individuals be con- 
sidered, without whose efforts it might not have hap- 
pened, and the interest which an American must feel in 
the knowledge of their history and peculiar characte- 
ristics. Although it happens that those who have very 
imperfect claims to the consideration and esteem of the 
world, may sometimes by the mere force of their courage 
and physical powers, become the efficient instruments in 
accomplishing great and glorious deeds ; yet when such 
individuals are endowed with faculties and dispositions 
adequate to high and exalted destinies, it is due to the 
dignity of man, as has before been observed, respect- 
fully to appreciate and commemorate the distinctions 
which nature has ordained. 


It is easy to conceive that the Power which controls 
the destinies of men, has conferred on each individual 
qualities suited to the part assigned to him on the stage 
of human life ; and we may well suppose that the same 
Power will be exerted in preparing and preserving such 
faculties for the purposes they are intended. 

Every constituent of the physical nature (both as to 
its symmetry and physical strength) of Hewes, are evi- 
dently indicative of a capacity suited to daring and des- 
perate enterprize, and the novel incident of his very 
infancy, in his controversy with his aunt, exhibited in 
him. at that early age, his correct views of the impor- 
ance of equal right and equal justice, and his unbend- 
ing resolution and courage to correct what he considered 
the erroneous views of his aunt.* His disposition to 
restrain the lawless abuse of power was evinced, also, in 
his manly interference to save the helpless boy, in the 
streets of Boston, from the assault of a British officer, 
and the prompt and severe chastisement upon the 
assailant, was a signal evidence of the respect with which 
he was held in public estimation on that occasion. The 
extraordinary restoration of his life, after drowning in 
Boston harbour, when but six years old; his signal 
escape from a watery grave on the Banks of Newfound- 
land, and his narrow escape from the fatal effects of a 

* See pp 21, 22. 


dangerous wound, inflicted by the insolence of a British 
officer, which have been noticed, are remarkable evi- 
dence, not only of the adaptation of his physical and 
intellectual energies to the desperate and hazardous 
enterprize of boarding the British tea ships, but of a 
capacity for preserving his faculties for the accomplish- 
ment of that event. 

It is said that we are never to expect disinterested 
patriotism will be witnessed in our world, but that 
under its assumed garb some latent motive may be 
detected, exhibiting self-interest as the main-spring 
of human actions. 

Let it be granted when, however, self-love prompts to 
actions which public good requires, it may well be 
conceded, that in the language of the poet, 

" Self-love and social are the same." 

But when we witness men embarking in desperate 
and hazardous enterprises, without discovering any 
of those incentives which usually govern the conduct 
of men, we may reasonably conclude they are endowed 
with some moral, intellectual, or physical powers, which 
do not fall to the lot of ordinary men. 

It cannot be expected in this short sketch, that a detail 

can be given of the many evidences which Hewes has 

exhibited through the course of his life, of his having 

possessed such powers. A view of his person and 



present condition most clearly evince that his character- 
istics have heen, as they now are, of no ordinary 

In his person, Hewes is rather under the common 
stature, being about five feet and one inch, yet so per- 
fectly erect is his attitude, as he stands or moves, the 
deficiency of his stature when he passes you would 
hardly be noticed ; and he walks with so much agility 
and firmness, that, did not his shrivelled face betray his 
great age, he might be taken for a man in all the vigour 
of youth. 

The hair upon his head is of a light brown colour, a 
very small proportion of it having as yet become gray ; 
not more than is usual to men of the age of fifty, and as 
he combs it back, it presents a high and prominent 
forehead ; which together with the exact symmetry and 
form of his head, exhibits a bold and manly visage. His 
whole person is of a light and slender texture, his eyes 
are of a dark blue, and are an index to an intelligent 
and vigorous mind ; and when he becomes excited in 
conversation, they sparkle with aglow of lustre, which 
strikingly betokens that the fire of youthful vigour in 
his breast is not yet extinguished. This often happens, 
when conversing on the subject of British usurpation 
and tyranny, which is with him a favorite topic. 

Considering his great deficiency of opportunities to 



improve his style, either from the precepts or intercourse 
of the learned, his language is remarkable for its gram- 
matical simplicity and correctness. In giving his 
relations of past events, he never attempts to divert 
the attention by the rehearsal of vain or trifling in- 
cidents ; in communicating his ideas, he can seldom be 
detected in any redundancy or deficiency of expression. 

He assumes to himself no title to peculiar favour for 
any of his public services, not even for the aid he 
afforded in the signal event of the destruction of the tea ; 
but seems to think no sacrifice too great, which an 
American might have made in the establishment of our 

In the events of the revolution he appears to have 
taken a deep interest ; although he had neither the 
advantages of friends or education to encourage in him 
any ambition of power or preferment. 

On my inquiring of him if he knew what gentlemen 
in Boston were most officious to encourage Great 
Britain in waging war upon her American colonies, 
he promptly replied that he knew some of them. I 
knew five men, said he, who wrote letters to the king 
for that purpose : they were Mr. Hutchinson, the gov- 
ernor of Massachusetts ; Andrew Oliver, secretary to 
the crown ; Silvester Gardner, a physician ; Charles 
Paxion, gentlemen, and Captain Benjamin Halloway. 



I had, says he, attested copies of these letters when I 
removed from Massachusetts into this part of the country, 
but by lending them to some gentlemen to peruse, I 
have lost them. 

I have mentioned this not only as one of the extra- 
ordinary instances of his powers of recollection, but of 
the active interest he took in examining documents 
which were important to the historian of the revolution. 
These letters contained, as may be supposed, the reasons 
which were urged to justify Great Britain in an offen- 
sive war upon her American colonies ; and a knowledge 
of them might be considered indispensible to those in 
whom were confided the political concerns of that 
eventful crisis. 

But when we find an obscure and illiterate man as 
Hewes was, industriously seeking and preserving the 
knowledge of these documents which related to the 
general welfare, it gives him claims to our atten. 
tion to which those of his condition seldom have any 

But aside from the deep interest he took in our revo- 
lutionary struggle, or faithful and important services he 
may have performed in the cause of his country, every 
intelligent man must feel a peculiar interest of learning 
something of the habits and manners of one of our own 
countrymen, who has lived to a very advanced age, 


while in possession of a great share, both of his intellec- 
tual and physical powers. 

One would suppose that Hewes had believed in the 
precepts of Lycurgus, the Spartan ; and that in the 
formation ofhis habits and manners, he had consulted 
his own health and happiness. It may be recollected 
that the Spartans were taught to believe that happiness 
consisted much more in action than contemplation. 
That the most active pursuits contributed more to the 
preservation of the health, and therefore to all the enjoy- 
ments of life, than those of any sedentary occupation. 

No man perhaps ever lived in this country or any 
other, who has more constantly and perseveringly prac- 
tised habits of active and laborious industry than Hewes. 
It has been often with difficulty, I could persuade 
him to remain in my room long enough to make of him 
the inquiries which were necessary to enable me to 
record the few incidents of his life, to be found in this 
little volume. He asserts, that from his childhood he 
has been accustomed to rise very early and expose 
himself to the morning air ; that his father compelled 
him to do this from his infancy, and that he has found 
the habit contributed so much to his enjoyments, that 
he never had any disposition to relinquish it. So 
inveterate have his active habits become, that it would 
probably be impossible to persuade him either to 



relinquish them, or in any degree to practice more 
moderation in the use of them ; and should he be in- 
duced to indulge even but moderately in habits of entire 
indolence, it would probably be the means of soon ter- 
minating his enjoyments, if not his life. He does not 
at present attempt those athletic exercises, which require 
the muscular strength of men in the usual vigour of 
manhood, but is generally occupied with some object 
that requires him to be standing on his feet, or walking. 
The average distance which he walks every day, when 
not prevented by the weather, is probably from two 
to three miles. On the fourth of July, 1833, being 
respectfully invited to dine with some gentlemen, who 
were to meet on that day, to commemorate the jubilee of 
our independence, some friend of his who was going 
to the place where he was invited to attend, brought him 
from the place of his residence, on the way, as far as 
my lodgings, where Hewes got out of the carriage, and 
thanking him, requested that he might be excused from 
riding any further, as he prefered walking the remain- 
der of the way, a distance of about two miles and a half, 
which he walked of choice, and after he had dined, 
returned on foot to the place of his residence, making 
his travel on that occasion, about five miles and a half. 
Among the several toasts given during the festival of 
that day, he was respectfully noticed by the following ; 


" George R. T. Hewes, our venerable guest — the last 
survivor of the band of patriots, who drowned the Bri- 
tish tea in Boston harbour, sixty years ago ; the noise 
of whose tomahawk, was to tyrants throughout the 
world, as the knell of their departing hour ; may the 
gratitude of his country be commensurate with the glory 
of that memorable event ;" which was echoed with en- 
thusiastic applause. As the guests were about rising 
from the table, Hewes rose up, and thanked them for 
the civility and respect they had shown him, on that 
day, and other similar occasions ; peradventure, said he, 
this may be the last time I shall ever meet with you ; 
but be that as it may, when I am called to leave the 
shores of time, may we meet hereafter where the wick- 
ed will cease from troubling, and the true sons of liberty 
may be forever at rest. After which he immediately 
retired, obviously impressed with the apprehension, 
that this would be his last meeting on such an occasion. 
It was indeed, to me, a most rare and interesting in- 
cident, that an individual, who had sixty years ago, 
struck the first blow in the opposition to usurpation and 
tyranny, living not only to witness the triumphant suc- 
cess of that opposition, against the most powerful na- 
tion in the world, but to attend the fifty-seventh anni- 
versary of the independence, which, by that event, the 
American people had achieved. 


The success which had attended his labours, his de- 
privations, and his sufferings, in the cause of his coun- 
try, could not afford him more cause for exultation, 
than the victory, which by his virtues, his fortitude, and 
the correctness of his habits, he had acquired over the 
infirmities to which poor human nature is generally 
subjected. His long life of vigorous health, may be as- 
cribed not more to his laborious exercises, than to his 
uniform temperance. Although his appetite for food, 
and even for stimulating liquors, has been encouraged 
by a sound and vigorous constitution, he never has in- 
dulged any more in the use of either, than was neces- 
sary to support the natural energies required in the per- 
formance of his duty. 

But there is one trait in his character which has 
greatly contributed to his health and happiness, though 
perhaps not to the improvement of his condition ; that 
is, an uniform cheerful submission to his destinies. 
This is a duty oftener inculcated by the precepts, than 
by the practice of wise men and philosophers. 

If poverty is a misfortune, it is very certain Hewes 
has always been a very unfortunate man. Although 
the course of his life has been distinguished by habits 
of industry, integrity, temperance and economy, yet he 
has never been able to provide for the exigencies of the 
future ; but has sometimes wanted the common comforts, 


and even the necessaries of life. It might be shown, 
that his condition has been such, as to render his desti- 
tute circumstances to him an inevitable event, for which 
his character was in no wise impeachable. But it be- 
longs to the biographer to delineate the condition and 
characters of men as they are ; and not to seek for rea- 
sons, why they might, or might not have been other- 
wise. It cannot be pretended, that substantial merit can 
either be created or diminished by the prossession, or 
want of wealth. 

But so many and depressing are the evils of poverty, 
that they may well be deplored by the wise as well as 
the simple ; and he who can preserve his integrity, and 
with a cheerful mind encounter the embarrassments 
and sufferings, which it inflicts, must possess more for- 
titude, than ordinarily falls to the lot of humanity. But 
such is the present condition and character of Hewes. 
Pressed down, as it were, by the iron hand of poverty, 
smarting as yet under the loss of his dearest earthly 
companion, the wife of his youth, and the consoling 
companion of his life, he is sprightly, talkative and 
cheerful ; sensible and interesting in conversation ; 
without any of that moroseness, and gloomy reserve, 
the usual concomitants of every advanced age ; or any 
of the melancholy dejections, and dreary forbodings of 


the near approach of his final catastrophe, which must 
soon terminate his closing scene. 

He often expresses his gratitude to a kind providence, 
for the many favours with which he has been indulged. 
Speaks most affectionately of his late wife, and of her 
many endearing qualities ; and exults in the consoling 
belief, that his separation from her, will be of but short 

It is difficult to witness his equanimity, his fortitude, 
his cheerful submission to his present depressed condi- 
tion, without ascribing to him a capacity and disposi- 
tion which kings might envy, and which the wise and 
great have sought in vain, or without being impressed 
with a deplorable sense of the thoughtless ingratitude of 
the world. 

Hewes, is at present, a solitary boarder in the house of 
a stranger, and has been for sometime past supported 
by the charity of his friends, in the immediate vicinity 
of his residence. 

For some years previous to his being placed in his 
present situation, he and his wife had lived in a small 
house which his son Robert had built for him, in the 
vicinity of Richfield Springs, where this same son had 
for some years contributed what was necessary to their 
support. After the death of his wife, which happened 
about three years ago, his son Robert took him into his 


own house, and supported him; but soon after, having 
met with some misfortunes, was obliged to sell his 
house, and removed with his family a distance so great 
it was not thought expedient for his father to accompany 


He then, for a short time, became a sojourner among 
his friends, who received and entertained him with the 
usual civilities, which an aged and respected stranger 
might expect, from the cold charities of the world. 
Although he had no children in this part of the coun- 
try, whose circumstances would admit of any additional 
expense for his support, he was very unwilling to be- 
come a public expense. From this embarrassing con- 
dition, he sought to relieve himself by appealing to the 
charity of a son-in-law, by the name of Morrison, who 
lived at a place called German Flatts, about nine miles 
from Richfield Springs. Morrison and his wife had 
several children, and were, as they now are, very poor. 
He remained, however, with them about a year, and 
while there, was visited with severe sickness ; during 
which he had hardly any comforts, or consolations af- 
forded him, other than the sympathies of a kind daugh- 
ter ; Morrison not being able by his manuel services, 
to provide for his family but a mere subsistence. After 
he had in some measure recovered his health, he re- 


turned to Richfield, and took up a short residence with 
a son who resides near the Springs. 

Soon after his arrival at his son's house, by some 
casualty, he fell down a stairway on some iron ware, by 
means of which he received a severe wound in both of 
his legs, which his physician pronounced incurable; 
observing that the flesh was so lacerated, his great age 
would not admit of its healing. But in this he was 
mistaken ; for although shockingly mangled, his flesh 
was healed with as much facility, as that of a man's in 
the vigour of youth. While suffering under the pain 
of this wound, it was thought incompatible with the cir- 
cumstances, of his son's family, which consists of eight 
children, to make suitable provision for his comfortable 
support, and he was removed to the place of his present 

I have only sketched some of the events which mark- 
ed his course, and rendered the destinies inevitable, 
which have probably opened to him his closing scene. 

During his residence with his children, in those days 
which must be numbered among his last, he has labour- 
ed incessantly to alleviate, and if possible, to exonerate 
them from the burden of expenses to which his support 
might subject them ; and at the present time appears 
disposed to exhaust the last efforts of his decaying na- 
ture to render himself useful to the worthy family, to 


whose generous attention he is at last indebted for those 
enjoyments which the consoling sympathies of children 
are not permitted to afford, and which seem to have been 
destined by nature to smooth the pillow of the expiring 

The people in the immediate vicinity of his residence 
have given satisfactory assurances to the worthy gentle- 
man who has taken Hewes into his house and made 
comfortable provision for his sustenance, that he shall 
be amply indemnified for any reasonable expense to 
which he may be subjected on that account. 

In doing this, they have nobly assumed upon them- 
selves what would long ago have been done by the 
American republic, had that publicity been given to his 
character and condition which his public services and 
private virtues have so well merited. 

It is said that judicious efforts of ordinary capacity 
might usually be expected to provide an independent 
competency ; yet the present destitute condition of Hewes 
can by no means be urged as an argument to depre- 
ciate his merit, or in any way derogate from the value 
of his character. 

Although in this age of reason and knowledge, it 
may be said that men of genius, and even the less 
learned, must expect to be the framers of their own for- 
tunes ; yet it must be acknowledged that a deplorable 


detail might be given of genius in misfortune, of the 
benefactors of mankind in adversity, both in our own 
and other countries. 

An improvident spirit and disdain of reflection, are 
more common attributes of great intellectual and physi- 
cal powers, than of ordinary talents. But while those 
of the former character may, by their improvidence, en- 
tail on themselves disaster and indigence, yet their 
efforts often prove the indispensable means of advancing 
the welfare and glory of their country. In confirma- 
tion of this truth, instances enough might be enumera- 
ted of men in our own country, who, with the advanta- 
ges of birth, of talents, of education and preferment, 
have been seen to be struggling with embarrassments, 
through life and ending it with insolvency, while they 
have been ranked among our most distinguished politi- 
cal benefactors, and who have imposed on posterity ob- 
ligations of perpetual gratitude. 

To intelligent minds, not under the entire dominion 
of popular opinion or of prejudice, it may be thought 
supererogation, to show from arguments drawn from 
precedent or any other source, that poverty or obscurity 
of condition, is not incompatible with merit, with capa- 
city, or real greatness. 

But they should be reminded that the American peo- 
ple are not exempt from the influence of an opinion, that 



has marked the history of the civil state ; an opinion of 
eminence connected with fortune, and a sense of debase- 
ment attending on poverty ; and who would, as were 
the Grecians two thousand years ago, rather be found 
distributing favours to idle and powerful men, than be- 
stow a thought on useful and obscure citizens. There 
is, therefore, an obligation enjoined on Americans by 
patriotism and philanthropy, to improve, if possible, this 
trait in the human character. 

It is very obvious that many of our citizens whose 
biography has been recorded, and who have well de- 
served the public approbation and applause, have 
acquired their eminence by means of fortuitous inci- 
dents, without their agency and beyond their control. 

Had not the American revolution distinguished the 
period in which Washington lived, that great man 
might have died with no other reputation than that of a 
respectable citizen and a civil magistrate of Virginia. 
Neither would that event have probably developed his 
transcendent worth, had not the discriminating mind of 
the elder John Adams directed the public voice to his 
official appointment. 

Had not fortuitous circumstances given to Alexander 
Hamilton (who was a poor orphan) a benefactor, he 
probably would never have been distinguished as a hero 
and statesman, or even known to the American people. 


When the conspirators in Persia against the Magi 
were consulting about a succession to the empire, it 
came into the mind of one of them, that he whose horse 
neighed first when they came together the next morn- 
ing, should be king. Had it not been for the accidental 
neighing of the horse of Darius, he would not probably 
have been king ; and had it not been for that accident, 
Alexander would not have conquered that empire, and 
the circumstances of the world in all past ages might 
have been different. 

The great Socrates, celebrated through the world for 
his wisdom and virtue, was bred to the trade of a sculp- 
tor, and might have continued to pursue that trade 
through life, had not Criton by accident discovered 
something of his fine genius, took him out of his 
father's shop, and opened to him the doors of his fame, 
by giving him an opportunity to develope his faculties 
in the acquisition of knowledge. 

This catalogue might be lengthened almost indefi- 
nitely, with the names of those who have acquired dis- 
tinguished fame, the self-moving agency of whose phy- 
sical or intellectual powers might never have opened to 
them the gates of the temple of their fame. Although 
these and thousands of others may have been possessed 
of the choicest attributes of intellectual nature, of facul- 
ties best suited to protect the rights and improve the 


condition of their country, such might and has been the 
order of the world, that those often of very inferior ca- 
pacities are destined to share in its distinctions and pre- 

This has been proved from the history of the most 
distant times, by the oracles of our religion. "The 
race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong," 
said the divine preacher," neither yet bread to the wise, 
nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour 
to men of skill, but time and chance happen to them all." 

That this is the present state of man, is continually 
verified before our eyes. 

We witness those who are fitted for distinguished 
places by their qualifications, both natural and acquired, 
who are yet indebted to extraneous incidents for their 
advancement. Among those, too, to whom nature has 
been equally liberal in the distribution of her gifts, cir- 
cumstances equally contingent enable some to acquire 
those necessary artificial prerequisites to preferment 
which do not fall to the lot of others. 

The injudicious exercise of parental authority and 
control is often fatal to the propitious destinies of men, 

This might have been and probably was one of the 
operative causes which rendered the indigence and ob- 
scurity of the condition of Hewes inevitable. 

He was obviously formed by nature for pursuits 


which required active enterprize. Nothing could have 
been more uncongenial to his genius, his physical 
nature, or the tendency of his disposition, than a mecha- 
nical trade which required sedentary habits. This 
appears from a general view of his pursuits through 
life. At the very commencement of the occupation 
which his father had prescribed for him, we find him 
engaging in a fishing voyage, on the application of his 
brother, which occupied his time for two years. His 
solicitude for a military employment was manifest from 
the artifice he practised, in raising the heels of his 
shoes to make his stature comport with the standard of 
the muster roll, and his afterwards engaging in the pro- 
fession of a sailor and a soldier, although strongly 
attached to his domestic circle and enjoyments. 

His present habits and inclination clearly evince that 
neither his physical or intellectual powers, were formed 
for a sedentary or inactive life. 

It might be an improvement in the policy of our re- 
public, if some regulation, sanctioned at least by popu- 
lar opinion, were admitted, similar to what has hereto- 
fore prevailed in other times and countries, that triers 
or examiners should be appointed, to examine the genius 
of each boy, that he might have such lot assigned to 
him as is best suited to his natural talents. It is be- 
lieved, that the sagacity of the learned Jesuits in disco- 


vering the talent of a young student, by thus examining 
his genius, upon every part of learning, on entering 
their college, has contributed much to the figure which 
their order has made in the world. 

The Spartans carried this spirit of improvement much 
farther. Among them it was not lawful for the father 
himself to bring up his children after his own fancy. 
As soon as they were seven years old, they were all 
enlisted in several companies and disciplined by the 
public ; the old men were the spectators of their per- 
formances ; who often raised quarrels among them, and 
set them at strife with one another, that by those early 
discoveries, they might see how their several talents 
lay ; and without any regard to their quality, disposed 
of them accordingly for the service of the common- 
wealth. By this means, Sparta soon became the mis- 
tress of Greece, and famous through the world for her 
civil and military discipline. 

Although such a regulation might be thought incom- 
patible with the genius of American liberty, the consider- 
ation of it may suggest to fathers or guardians, the im- 
portance of consulting the talents of the son, rather than 
their own fancy or ambition, in selecting for him an oc- 
cupation, which may affect his future welfare, and happi- 
ness, according as it may be adapted to his genius and 


But if any interference in the education of children, 
would be thought intolerable usurpation, yet it cannot be 
thought improper to instruct the inspectors of Our 
schools, to examine the genius of children as well as 
their progress in science, and advise parents at least not 
to require that of children, which nature has denied to 
them. For to whatever course the delusive fancy or 
vain ambition of parents may direct, in the disposal of 
their children, they cannot expect any particular knowl- 
edge can be produced, in a mind, where the seed of it 
has never been planted. 

It is related by Plato, that Socrates, who was the son 
of a midwife, used to say, that his mother, though she 
was very skilful in her profession, could not deliver a 
woman unless she was first with child, so neither could 
he himself raise knowledge out of a mind where nature 
had not planted it. If these remarks should be consi- 
dered extraneous, they are imperiously urged on the 
mind, by comparing the conditionand faculties of Hewes 
with many others, who, with opportunities to acquire 
knowledge, and power to render it useful, are pursuing 
objects which nature has placed beyond their capacity ; 
who are looking to artificial aids, for what nothing but 
innate powers can produce ; while Hewes seems to 
have been led, as it were, by an ignis fatuis, in a laby. 
rinth of perplexities, through a protracted life, which may 


have been, by means of an injudicious direction to his 
course, in the outset ; and which may always be expect- 
ed, where the parent, in controling the destinies of the 
son, disregards his genius, or the tendency of his 

Although talents and ambition will sometimes raise a 
man to preferment and to fortune, amidst the most ap- 
palling and adverse circumstances ; yet such instances 
are generally found among those who are thrown upon 
the world, in a state of orphanage, when necessity, the 
most powerful inventive of expedients, will be likely to 
develope and apply the faculties, best suited to the exi- 
gencies of their condition. 

It has been observed, that the distinctions created in 
the order of nature, have claims on the perpetuity of the 
monumental record. Such distinctions, however, as 
cannot be conferred by the caprice of fortune, or the 
usual passports of preferment ; but such as are created 
by those superior endowments which nature only can 
confer. Accident may give rise to riches, to artificial 
greatness, which a mere freak of fortune may prostrate 
in the dust. 

Men sometimes raise themselves to pre-eminence, by 
the knowledge of other men's weakness, rather than 
from any consciousness of their own wisdom ; and be- 
hind the blaze of chivalric fame, the want of patriotism, 


of virtue and humanity, are often concealed. A correct 
view of the human character well inspired the language 
of the Poet, 

" Who wickedly is wise or madly brave, 
Is but the man a fool the more a knave, 
Who noble ends by noble means obtains, 
Or failing, smiles in exile or in chains, 
Like good Aurelius, let him reign or bleed, 
Like Socrates ; that man is great indeed." 

This greatness has given to Hewes a superiority which 
may well claim for him a place in the monumental 
record. The strength of his memory, which enables 
him to relate with precision many interesting incidents 
from his very boyhood, through his life, now protracted 
to nearly an hundred years. The strict observance of 
those habits which the laws of nature require, to pre- 
serve the vigour of his physical powers, and enable him 
to triumph over the devastations of time, to which, du- 
ring his life, whole generations have been consigned ; 
his virtue, which has enabled him to preserve the integ- 
rity of his character, amidst the adversities of his de- 
pressed condition, and the corruptions of the world ; his 
fortitude to meet his adverse destinies with cheerful 
submission, clearly exhibits to our view r the character of 
that man, who is emphatically pronounced by the Poet, 
" great indeed." 

Not that greatness, with the tinsel splendors of which, 


the devotees of mammon, would surround his throne, or 
that which the hero's blood-stained laurels would con- 
fer ; not that with which the insane breath of party- 
zeal would crown its idol ; but that which neither the 
devices, or the power of the world can create, or can 
destroy. I am well aware, there are great numbers 
among us, who in reviewing the histories of men, are 
best pleased in contemplating the human conduct in its 
excesses, to which it may be impelled by ambition or by 
passion ; who would estimate the greatness of a man, 
by the extent of his conquests ; by his acquisitions, ra- 
ther than by his wisdom, or his virtue in the use of 
them. Who dwell with enthusiastic delight on the lives 
of such men as the Alexanders, the Cassars, and the Na- 
poleons ; of those who have waded through seas of 
blood, to the acquisition of their thrones and their fame; 
who, in adjudging the characters and condition of men, 
indulge a delusive opinion of eminence connected with 
fortune, and debasement attending on poverty, which 
renders them regardless of every advantage but that of 
the rich, and insensible to every evil and every indig- 
nity but that of the poor ; and who might therefore 
think the life and adventures of Rothchild, the Jew, who 
by his wealth might control the power of the British 
empire, more worthy of their attention, than that of such 
men as Pawlin, Williams, and Van wort the captors of 


the unfortunate Andre, against the majesty of whose 
virtue, the power of gold could not prevail. 

There is a prevailing passion also, to regard the lives 
or the characters of those only as deserving the public 
notice, who are ambitious of personal distinction, and 
whose names are first made the topic of popular con- 
versation, and find a conspicuous place in the party dis- 
cussions of the day. 

It is difficult to determine whether this propensity to 
acquire fame, is more dominant than the disposition to 
distinguish those who are ambitious of it. 

So very sensible are those who aspire to popular 
fame, of the propensity in the human disposition to give 
distinction to those who seek it, that many are very un- 
scrupulous of the means, by which they wonld acquire 

We too often witness those who having no opportu- 
nity to acquire honourable fame by honourable means 
and substantial merit, stoop to the most humiliating 
indignity, to obtain some sort of fame by which to ac- 
quire popular favour. 

Among the means to which this kind of ambition 
often resorts for success, are noisy zeal, and vain pre- 
tensions to patriotism, whereby, many who indulge it, 
would give to themselves that consequence, which can 
be generated only by popular discourses, by party dis- 


cussions and cause deliberations. And wealth too, is 
often sought, not more for the means of injoyment it 
affords, than for its passport to power and preferment. 
Among the idolaters of popularity thus acquired, it may 
be expected, many will be found, who would not bestow 
their attention on so unimportant an object, as an ob- 
scure and useful citizen. On the life and adventures of 
so unassuming a character as the humble subject of 
this memoir, one who has lived in poverty and obscurity, 
and will probably die in that condition. 

The villanous ambition of the traitor Arnold, 
although it incurred on him the contempt and repro- 
bation of his country men, was more liberally rewarded 
with the golden honors of the worshippers of mammon, 
than were the detectors of his treachery, Pawlin, Wil- 
liams and Vanwart, who saved the American army, and 
thereby contributed so gloriously to the independence 
of their country. While the former was remunerated 
for his treachery to his country and his loyalty to 
her enemy with a princely stipend, the latter for their 
integrity and their patriotism, with only a provision for 
their simple subsistence; but they were only men 
who lived in poverty and obscurity like Hewes. 

These remarks are not intended as a reflection upon 

our national character, but illustrative of the tendency of 

the human disposition. Neither are they intended to 



imply that integrity and virtue, and talents are of course 
entitled to the rewards of wealth and power ; but, that 
individuals may be, and often are entitled to appropri- 
ate preferments which are not always conferred. 

By far the greater part of our citizens can make no 
calculation on popular distinctions, but must expect to 
glide through the crowd of life without particular no- 
tice and without praise. 

Although it is very obvious, that in the great drama 
of human action, the safety and welfare of indivi- 
duals and of communities, may require, that important 
parts should sometimes be assigned, to those in ob- 
scure stations, who are destined to move only in the 
common ranks of society. 

The safety of the whole country, may, and often has 
depended on the integrity, the patriotism, or the valour of 
one placed in the humble office of a sentinel. No one 
perhaps could duly appreciate the debt of gratitude 
which might be due from our country, to the captors of 
the unfortunate Andre. Many instances might be in- 
numerated of the unusual fortitude and unprecedented 
volour of our countrymen, acting in the most private 
and undistinguished stations, the results of whose efforts 
may have been rendered essential means in the fortu- 
nate issue of our revolutionary contest. Although, 
Hewes has no pretensions to any o: those literary 


acquirements, which in the present condition of our 
country and the world, may well be considered prere- 
quisites for civil office, or professional pursuits ; none to 
eminence of station, to distinction of rank, or fortune ; 
none to the tinsel splendors, the decorations and dis- 
guises which are sought by many, as the sure passports 
to preferment ; although he has had none of that fashion- 
able ambition, to distinguish himself by the senseless 
noise of party zeal, or to make his name the topic of 
popular discourse; or even to be mentioned in the 
secluded and patriotic councils of a caucus ; none of 
that very common ambition, which by the arts of 
intrigue, and the cunning of interested hypocracy, might 
have raised him from the lowest pit of his adverse con- 
dition to popular celebrity and distinction ; but has 
been contented himself, and permitted by the world to 
rest in the depths of obscurity, and pass in the crowd of 
life without notice and without praise ; yet, notwithstan- 
ding he has claims on the respect and attention of 
community, which a wise and intelligent people cannot 

Plutarch, in his account of the life of Socrates, re- 
marks, that " to be a public man it is not necessary to be 
in office, to wear a robe of judge or magistrate, and to 
sit in the highest tribunals for the administration of jus- 
tice. But whoever knows how to give wise councils 


to those who consult him, to animate the citizens to 
virtue, and to inspire them with sentiments of probity, 
equity, generosity and love of their country ; this, says 
Plutarch, is the true magistrate and ruler, in whatever 
place or condtion he be." 

The influence of moral precepts, it appears, were in 
view of that judicious historian, essential in the support 
of civil government. And that such instructions might 
be given, either by precept or example, with more 
efficiency by men in private stations than those in power. 

Although for the want of literary acquirements, 
Hewes could not communicate the councils of wisdom, 
by those refined precepts which distinguish the lessons 
and the school of Socrates, yet the influence of his ex- 
ample, might give to the morals and manners of the 
people, a character which could better secure the perpe- 
tuity of our privileges, than has ever yet been attained 
by the legal administration of power. 

During eighty years, which is about the time Hewes 
arrived to the maturity of manhood, he has exhibited 
to those around him, an example of laborious industry, 
rigid temperence of stability, and of unimpeachable in- 
tegrity in his intercourse with the world, worthy of all 
imitation. And the general prevalency of its influence, 
might demonstrate the principle, that public virtue alone 
can give permanency to republican liberty. \ 


It is not known to those who have had the most cor- 
rect and intimate knowledge of his life, that he has 
ever been reputed to have been guilty of a single vice. 
As his abstemiousness from vicious habits could not 
be owing to his want of temptation, to these his neces- 
sities almost perpetually exposed him ; not for the want 
of opportunities to practice vice ov crimes ; these are 
never wanting to those who seek them : neither could it 
be for want of courage to practice them, or capacity to 
avoid exposure. Of these he possessed a more than 
ordinary share ; but from the impressions of early in- 
struction, together with his own views of wright and 
wrong, operating upon the peculiar texture of his mind. 
It is very fortunate, that in our republic we have so 
many men of talents, integrity and patriotism, in obscure 
stations, who like Plutrarch's magistrate, without being 
actually in office, can be public men, and who are ca- 
pable of ruling and directing the destinies of their coun 
try in whatever place or condition they may be. 

Besides the lessons of instruction taught by the ex- 
ample of his virtne, his unrewarded services for his 
country, give him an incontrovertible claim to her con- 
sideration and regard. 

During the greater part of the war of eight years, 
his time was devoted to the public service, for which he 
has received no other remuneration than that which 


furnished him with the, means of purchasing a single 
suit of clothes ; and yet in the extremity of his condi- 
tion, so tardy has been the progress of his country's 
justice, that he has been able only by a long and ex- 
pensive process, to obtain from the government the mise- 
rable pittance of a soldier's pension ; although he did 
not even ask for this, until he had weathered the current 
of time and adversity for about eighty years. While 
during the time he has been soliciting justice for past 
services, millions have been spent in devising ways and 
means to dispose of surplus revenue. Although Hewes, 
with his tomahawk, struck the first blow in the founda- 
tion to the capitol of our national legislature, its present 
occupants, it seems, are solacing themselves with the 
consoling requiem, the general chorus to long speeches, 

We shall get our eight dollars a day, 

Let Hewes and his courtiers fare as they may. 

It was said by the biographer of the celebrated Cur- 
ran, that he was too patriotic not to have a large family 
of children. If this may be considered evidence of 
patriotism, Hewes may come in for an ample share, 
having been the father of fifteen children, and according 
to his last accounts, about fifty grand-children, two of 
whom having been produced by his daughter at one 
birth, and that when she was more than fifty years old. 
Thus it appears, that while Hewes was fighting our bat- 


ties in the first American war, he was faithfully engaged 
in providing recruits for the second; acting, too, in obe- 
dience to the divine command, to multiply and replenish 
the earth. 

But those who would have great deeds and splendid 
achievements, alone entitle one to a place in the biogra- 
phic page, cannot deny to the venerable subject of this 
memoir that dignity. The event with which the name 
and the renown of Hewes is inseparably connected, has 
already been exhibited to the world in history as con- 
spicuously, as are the constellations in the heavens ; not 
that event which was designated only by the destruc- 
tion of a few hundred chests of tea ; that required only 
an effort of physical power, and might be effected by 
the momentary impulse of an infuriated populace; but 
an event, which in its consequence was to call in ques- 
tion and put at defiance the power of the British parlia- 

Great Britain had proclaimed to the world, that what 
her Parliament should do, no power on earth could 
undo. But the crisis had arrived, when this vain 
assumption of power, should be exploded as a political 
heresy. The spirit of liberty, awaking from the slum- 
ber of ages, had invoked the moral courage of the Ame- 
rican people, to rouse from the lethargy of oppression, 
shake off her fetters, and by a glorious display of man's 


capacity for self-government, solve the hitherto inexpli- 
cable enigma of parliamentary omnipotency. 

A blow was to be struck, which to tyrants throughout 
the world should be to them as the knell of their depart- 
ing hour ; which should announce to mankind the com- 
mencement of a new era in the civil state ; the introduc- 
tion of a new age, in which a reformation in the political 
condition of the world should commence its progress, 
and the rights of man be exhibited in a new blaze of 

But notwithstanding the importance of the crisis, 
while the then colony of Massachusetts was fully con- 
vinced, that on the energy and promptitude of her meas- 
ures, might depend the destinies of her country, she had 
no legal power to accomplish that which her moral 
courage might justify and require. Popular opinion 
was her only efficient weapon. 

Although the urgency of her political condition, re- 
quired that a law of the British Parliament should be 
abrogated, and private property invaded, yet the peculiar 
exigencies of her situation, her policy, and her safety 
required, that this should be accomplished by means of 
an invisible agency, that thereby the danger of the en- 
terprise might be transferred from the colony to the few 
individuals, who might be found hardy enough to en- 
counter the responsibility. Such individuals were found , 


and by their agency was it accomplished : the event of 
which, in view of the world, gave to the American char- 
acter a renown for magnanimity, for fortitude, and 
heroic achievement, unprecedented in the annals of 

For this renown, great and glorious as it was, and as 
it may be in its final results, the American people are 
indebted to those distinguished adventurers, whose des- 
perate courage in the impulse of the moment, impelled 
them to that memorable achievement, and to no one 
more than to Hewes. If the importance and the glory . 
of that event has assigned for its memorial the monu- 
mental record, so it should the name and character of 
one who not only devoted his services and hazarded his 
personal safety in the accomplishment of it. But who by 
his example has taught us the course which will enable 
us to overleap the bounds usually assigned to mortal 
existence, an example which might shed a lusture on 
venal and artificial greatness. 

There is in the disposition of man, a propensity to 
forget the events of the past and to engage the entire at- 
tention on objects of the passing moment. 

While we readily acknowledge, that in the events of 
the present, age, posterity are to learn their destiny, we 
are not willing to appreciate our own according to the 


improvement we may make of the knowledge to be 
derived from the past. 

From the dissentions and commotions, engendered by 
the passions and the prejudices of party, and from the 
dreary forebodings of the ruins which the political aspect 
threatens, a wise people should seek for lessons of in- 
struction in a retrospect of the past 

A recollection of the events which raised us from a 
state of collonial vassalage to independence and pre- 
eminence among the nations of the earth, may well in- 
spire us with just views of the importance of our privili- 
ges and the dignity of our condition. While a retrospect 
of the exalted virtues and resistless courage of the 
veteran heroes, by whose instrumentality they were 
achieved, may, by the power of their example, stimulate 
us to those efforts, by which alone, they can be pre- 




During the time this memoir has been preparing for 
the press, some individuals, whose opinions are worthy 
of great regard, have indulged in apprehensions that the 
life of Hewes might not be sufficiently prolific in inci- 
dent to engage the attention from the public, to which 
his natural talents or his merit might entitle him. With 
due respect to the views of such patrons, it has already 
been remarked, that one events. lone,were it the singl e 
one of his whole life, which could give celebrity to his 
fame, might well consign it to immortality. 

But the protracted duration of his life and faculties, 
orive him claims to peculiar distinction, which deserve 
some further consideration. 

The natural limit of human life is estimated from 80 
to 9Q years. Very few servive that period, while a very 
great majority do not live to approach near it. A calcu- 
lation has been made, supposed to be nearly correct, 
of all new born infants, one out of four dies the first year; 


that two fifths only attain their sixth year ; and before 
the twenty second year, one half of the generation is 
consigned to the grave. 

That the usual destiny of human life, when protracted 
to fourscore years, is pain, debility or sorrow, we have 
had the united testimony of history, both sacred and pro- 
fane for two thousand years. In general, the mean 
duration of human life is between thirty or forty years ; 
that is, one from thirty or forty individuals die every 
year. This proportion too, varies sometimes in a singu- 
lar manner, according to sex, localities and climates. 
Perhaps there is no phenomina in nature more inexpli- 
cable, than the order by which death cuts off its victims. 
It is believed, that the unhealthy nature of certain occu- 
pations, the violence of the passions, and generally the 
corruptions of manners, probably prove equally fatal to 
life, as the original weakness of the human frame. Yet 
uncertain and irregular as are the limits of human life, 
no extraneous incidents, however fatal their usual ope- 
ration, on the tenure of life, are permitted to effect the 
destiny which sometimes signalizes the age of certain 
individuals. Although the habits and manners, and 
occupations of some in every section of the globe are 
more conducive to the vigour of health, and the preser- 
vation of the human constitution, than those of others ; 
and in some climates, the human frame may be more 


exposed to decay and death ; yet in the disposition of 
intelligent nature, the Great Disposer of events has ob- 
viously made discriminations between individuals of the 
same general constituents. Some examples, though 
very rare, are to be found of extreme longevity, in every 
climate of the habitable globe, and such examples are 
common to all countries without distinction. 

England, which is highly extolled for the salubrity 
of i^ climate, has furnished but three or four examples 
of men, arriving at the age of from 150 to 169, while 
Hungary, which, generally speaking, is not a very 
healthy country, has seen the" celebrated Peter Cyartan, 
prolong his life to the 185th year, and John Rovin, at 
the age of 172, had a wife of 164, and a younger son of 
117. It is in the Bannat of Temeswar a very marshy 
district, and subject to the putrid fever, that these exam- 
ples of longevity and many others, have been observed. 
It is said that Russia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark 
and Switzerland, are the countries which furnish the 
most numerous and the most authentic examples of 
men and women, having had their lives extended be- 
yond the period of 100 years. In these countries, we 
may reckon one centenarian for every three or four 
thousand individuals.* 

According to the author of a very curious little work, 

* Malte Brun's Physical Geography, B. 22, p. 195. 


called the apology for fasting, 152 Hermits taken in all 
ages, and under every climate, produce a sum total of 
1 1,589 years of life ; and consequently an average of 76 
years and about three months for each. From these 
sketches of the history of longevity, or from the knowl- 
edge of it, which can be obtained from the history of 
our own times and country, the examples of those who 
have lived to a very protracted age, are found to be very 
rare ; and among those very few whose years have ex- 
ceeded eighty or ninety, a very small proportion have, 
retained their faculties in that vigour which would en- 
able them to participate in the common enjoyments or 
perform the necessary duties of life. Neither has it 
been discovered, that any particular climate, any pecu- 
liar locality, or extraneous incidents, have had any 
special agency in protracting the lives of those who 
have been distinguished for longevity. 

Although it may have been proved from the lessons 
of physical science, and the philosophy of the vital prin- 
ciple, that some certain climates or peculiar seasons, 
may be more likely to consider to the health and the 
preservation of the human constitution than others, yet 
it is very obvious from the examples which have been 
mentioned, and other instances of unusual longevity, 
which have happened in every age, throughout the most 
unhealthy sections of the habitable world, that the means 


of protracting life, and preserving the constitution in its 
vigour, are, if I may use the expression, personal in 
their nature and effects, depending on its peculiar or- 
ganization, and the adaption of such habits and manners 
of living, as are best suited to protect its operations. 

By a peculiar organization; we are not to understand 
one differing from others, in any of those constituents, 
which have been found to be common, and believed to 
be essential ; those to give to the human constitution its 
greatest perfectability, we may conclude, are equal and 
uniform in all, that is, in their number and form ; but # 
from circumstances easier conceived than explained, 
differing in degrees of vigour and capacity for du- 

Yet we see those who exhibit the most obvious 
equality in the vigour and durability of their constitu- 
tions, have very unequal limits affixed to their dura- 
tion ; and that those whose hold on life, appears most 
feeble and uncertain, are, in some instances, enabled to 
protract their existence, beyond those whose capacity 
for duration, seem obviously to encourage more confi- 
dent anticipations of long life. 

From these considerations of the human condition we 
are forced to the conclusion, that although much may 
be owing to the peculiar constituents of individuals, yet 
not less is due to the wise adaption of such habits and 


modes of living, as are best suited to protract the exist- 
ence of those who are destined to longevity. 

Although man is doomed eventually to yield all the 
vigour, the perfectability, and wisdom of his nature, a 
final sacrifice to the devastation of time, yet it is obvious, 
the same Supreme Power, which has enstamped mor- 
tality on human existence, has conferred on man the 
means of protracting its period. As the most finished 
and correct chronometer or time piece will become 
equally useless, as one of the most imperfect organiza- 
tion, in unskillful and careless hands, so the most per- 
fect human frame, equally with the enfeebled and imper- 
fect constitution, may be expected not to reach the 
period assigned to it, by its original faculties, but be- 
come subject to premature decay and dissolution, if the 
elements of life, which nature has provided for its pre- 
servation, are not judiciously applied to their appro- 
priate uses. 

Those who are not inclined to censure customs and 
habits, which lead to the premature decay of our nature, 
and the moral and temporal evils which may accompany 
them, are sometimes disposed to ascribe every event to 
inevitable fatality, or the result of mere accident ; and 
to evince the correctness of their views, point us to the 
various habits and manners of those who attain to an 
unusual age. 


It is true, that some men of irregular and intemperate 
lives, live to an extraordinary age. The texture of 
their constitutions will admit of it. The adoption of 
such habits as the constitution will bear, is indispensable 
to the preserving and protracting of life. But because 
the constitutions of some individuals enable them to 
struggle through the effects of intemperate habits, it 
does not justify the experiment, nor prove that a different 
course of living would not be more conducive to their 
health and happiness. 

The testimony of universal observation and experi- 
ence, confirm the correctness of the opinion, that sober, 
abstemuous and industrious habits, with a mind unruffled 
with the violence and tumult of passion, conduce most 
to the preservation of health, and the protracting of 
human life. 

If we have sufficient evidence to justify the hypo- 
thesis of a celebrated and enlightened physician,* that a 
certain stock of vital force, is imparted to the embryo, 
at its first formation, as a provision for carrying it 
through its destined career of existence, the very aged 
have peculiar claims to a distinction, so ardently and 
universally desired, and so rarely conferred on man, by 
the Great Disposer of events. 

* Dr. P. M. Roget. 



Or if those rare instances of longevity may be said to 
owe the extraordinary preservation of their existence, to 
the practice of such habits and modes of living, as are 
most congenial to the peculiar organization of their con- 
stitutions, and the preservation of its vigour, and exten- 
sion of its duration, then they are equally entitled to 
our admiration and respect. 

Among some of the most celebrated nations of anti- 
quity, the very aged, more than any other particular 
class, were treated with general respect and reverence. 
This peculiar trait in the national character, was once 
upon a certain occasion, strikingly exemplified by the 
Lacedemonians, in a theatre at Athens ; when " it hap- 
pened that during a public representation of some play 
exhibited in honour of the commonwealth, an old gen- 
tleman came too late for a place, suitable to his age and 
quality, some of the young gentlemen who observed 
his difficulty and confusion, made signs that they would 
accommodate him if he came where they sat. The 
good man bustled through the crowd accordingly ; but 
when he came to the seats to which he was invited, the 
jest was to set close and expose him, as he stood out of 
countenance to the whole audience. The frolic went 
round all the Athenian benches. But on those occa- 
sions, there were also particular places assigned for for- 
eigners. When the good man skulked towards the 


boxes appointed for the Lacedemonians, that honest peo- 
ple, more virtuous than polite, rose up all to a man, and 
with the greatest respect received him among them. 
The Athenians being suddenly touched with a sense of 
the Spartan virtue, and their own degeneracy, gave a 
thunder of applause ; and the old man cried out, the 
Athenians understand what is good, but the Lacedemo- 
nians practice it." 

Not only were the aged generally held in veneration 
among that renowned people, but so important did they 
consider the connexion between useful knowledge, and 
the lessons of experience, that the instruction of their 
youth was universally committed to their superinten- 

Intelligent men, who reflect on the human condition, 
will always consider, that a very protracted life gives to 
the aged, claims to attention and respect ; not only be- 
cause the knowledge of men and things derived from 
experience, may be supposed to afford important lessons 
of instruction, but because they are distinguished with 
capacities for extending their mortal career to that 
period of life to which mankind so universally aspire, 
and so seldom attain. A view of the grandeur of wealth 
and power, may excite the admiration ; and the incidents 
which often attend their acquisition, may fascinate the 


mind with the splendour of achievement, while we may 
be forced to the exclamation of the Poet, 

" See by what wretched steps their glory grows, 
From dirt and sea-weed as proud Venice rose." 

But the consideration which the man of very protracted 
age inspires, can never be attended with such degrading 
views of the human character. It can never be said of 
the aged, that he owes his protracted existence to vicious 
or despicable means, however their character may 
sometimes be contaminated with vicious habits and 
manners. The very vices, the errors, and the crimes, 
which usually mark the course of lawless ambition, and 
give to the biography of the venal great, its fascinations, 
and its highest interest, instead of prolonging the period 
of human life, may tend rather to abreviate that pro- 
tracted duration, which justly excites universal venera- 
tion and respect. 

No incident in the characters or conduct of men, 
however it may justly perpetuate their fame, can secure 
to them the signal distinction with which great age 
marks the destiny of the few. 

When we consider the extreme feebleness of the hu- 
man frame, at the moment of its birth, the slow progress 
of its growth, the multiplicity of its wants, the delicacy 
of the nurture they require-; the various and compli- 
cated nature of the diseases, and innumerable ills which 


are inevitable attendants in the journey of human life, 
our wonder and admiration is more excited, that the life 
of an individual is even rarely preserved, through the 
period of eighty, ninety, or a hundred years, amidst the 
desolating ruins of human existence, than that twenty 
years should consign to the grave, half the generations 
of mankind. 

The work alluded to in a preceding page, giving an 
account of the ages of the hermits, who had lived in 
every climate and period of the world, evinces the great 
interest that has heretofore been excited by those rare 
instances of longevity, which had signalized the history 
of man's physical nature. If the blessings of long life 
are commensurate with the ardency of human desire to 
attain it, a physical biography of the lives of the very 
aged might present important and useful views of the 
great inequality in the period of human life, and tend to 
improve the physical and intellectual nature of man. 
A biographic history of the distinctions which the laws 
of nature have ordained, and the unusual incidents and 
extraordinary achievements in the lives of individuals, 
might be found to have equal claims to public attention. 

No satisfactory account has yet been given to the 
world, of the moral or physical causes which upon any 
reasonable hypothesis may be supposed to have created 
the great difference in the period of human life, which 


distinguish its history. The extreme limit of human 
life, and the means of attaining it, have been a subject 
of general interest, both in ancient and modern times, 
and the physiologist and political economist are alike 
attracted by the inquiry. The results of all observa- 
tions transmitted to us, on the duration of human life, 
in given circumstances, do not essentially differ ; which 
may have led to the opinion of some, that in the patri- 
archial ages the year might have been understood in a 
very different sense from what it now is ; and the life 
of man therefore at that time,* be less disproportioned 
to the duration, which is usually assigned to it in the 
present age. 

If such an investigation would not develope such 
sources of wisdom, or so improve the human capacity, 
as to enable us in any degree to protract the period of 
human existence, it might, by enlarging the bounds of 
science, enhance the happiness of man, and thereby 
shed on the dignity of his nature a new and distin- 
guished lustre. 

But few, if any, who have arrived to the age of the 
subject of this memoir, have probably exhibited those 

* The general sense in which the terra, year, is to be understood, is that dura- 
tion of time assigned to the revolution of a planet, which in the primeval ages, 
might have been designated by some planet, the revolution of which might 
require a much shorter period than that by which we measure our year. 


peculiar qualities which have given to him a self pre- 
serving capacity, which distinguish him not only from 
the great mass of mankind, but from those, who, with 
him have passed the common boundary of life. From 
the general description of his person, which has already 
been given, it will be recollected that he is not at pre- 
sent distinguishable by the stooping attitude, grey hairs, 
gloomy reserve, melancholy dejection, and general de- 
crepitude, which are the usual concomitants of age, 
when protracted to the period of eighty. And what is 
farther remarkable, the mobility and pliancy of his 
joints, especially those of his fingers, which are most 
visible, are not in the least stiffened by the usual shrink- 
ing of the muscles of the aged ; neither does he exhibit 
any of that tremor, or palsied affection, which the de- 
bility and disorganization of the nervous system usually 
produces in very protracted periods of life. 

In contemplating on the self preserving power of this 
venerable man, our admiration is farther excited, from 
the consideration, that he has had to encounter more 
than the ordinary ills of life. From a retrospective glance 
at the incidents which have marked his course, it will 
be recollected, that at the age of six years, his life was so 
far extinguished by drowning in Boston harbour, that 
it required a great effort to re-animate him. That soon 
after he had arrived at the age of manhood, he was 


saved from a watery grave in the Atlantic, off the banks 
of Newfoundland, by his extraordinary agility, and the 
prompt application of his muscular strength, by means 
of which, he not only saved himself, but a fellow seaman, 
who clung to his heels while he was hauled by a rope, 
from the briney billows, into the vessel from which he 
had fallen. That some time about the commencement 
of our revolutionary war, he was hardly saved from the 
fatal effects of a seemingly mortal wound, inflicted on 
his head by a British custom-house officer in the streets 
of Boston. And that even after he had passed his 90th 
year, he was by an unfortunate casualty subjected to a 
severe wound, which so shockingly mangled the fleshy 
part of both his legs, that the cure of it was considered 
by his physician, as incompatible with that morbid and 
debilitated state of his system which was supposed to be 
an inevitable appendage of his great age. Neither 
could the speedy restoration of his health, from the 
effects of this wound be accounted for, but from the con- 
sideration that the general constituents of his nature, 
still retained the soundness and vigour of youth. It ap- 
pears too, that he has not been exempt from his share of 
the ordinary diseases, which usually subject the human 
frame to decay and dissolution, in every period and con- 
dition of life ; while he has had to encounter the evils, 
which must be the inevitable concomitants of an affec- 


tionate and benevolent parent, whose means are inade- 
quate to the wants of a numerous family of dependent 

If the archives of the world, since the primeval ages, 
have produced any individuals whose physical and in- 
tellectual powers are as distinguishable for the preser- 
vative qualities of their nature, as are those of this 
extraordinary man, their number must be acknowledged 
to be very small. 

It is therefore believed by the author of this memoir, 
that no apology should be expected, for presenting to 
public view, the life of a man which has not been marked 
with those incidents, that may be thought by many, to 
give biographic history its fascinations or its interest. 
Those who are most pleased with writings, which com- 
prise only amusing fictions, or a perpetual succession of 
events, which surprise by their variety, without inspi- 
ring the virtue of patriotism, or ennobling the heart, 
will not be likely to seek for amusement' or instruction, 
in the memoir of a useful and obscure citizen. Neither 
are we to expect them to preserve the character of our 
republic, from the ruins which have attended the destiny 
of others. 

That trait in the national character, which would give 
to no other distinctions, claims on public attention, but 
such as ar<* generated by the ambition of power and an 


idolatrous homage, to those who may happen to possess 
it, has marked the progress of fallen republics. If 
Americans do not improve that national characteristic, it 
may mark the decline and' ruin of ours. - 

Events from which great consequences follow, such 
as may effect the condition of the world should not be 
forgotten. New scenes are, however, constantly obli- 
terating the recollections of the past, and incidents the 
most interesting to the destinies of the future, are too 
often consigned to oblivion. But we should remember 
that posterity will have to learn their destiny in the 
events of the present age, and to estimate the American 
character by reviewing the commencement of its pro- 
gress. Hence, has proceeded the disposition of mankind 
to canonize the fame of their ancestors, or those of the 
preceding age, by emblems the most unfading. 

In every age, and in every clime, monuments have 
been raised as durable incentives to imitate the illustri- 
ous deeds, which have marked certain spots by the hap- 
pening of some great events, from which important 
results have been produced. And where can one be 
found more eventful in its consequences, to the present 
generation of the American people, and to their poste- 
rity, than that which was consecrated to the genius of 
liberty on the sixteenth day of December, 1773, by the 
noble daring of the band of heroes, that struck the blow. 


whose sound echoed from citizen to citizen, and from 
colony to colony, until the proclamation of our independ- 
ence greeted every American ear, and announced the 
commencement of a jubilee to freemen throughout 
the world. 

But although the event, which should consign to im- 
mortal fame that memorable spot, may have been an 
efficient link in the great chairuof causes, to which may 
be referred all the succeeding glories of our republic ; 
though our philosophers and poets point to it as one 
great contingency, on which may have depended the 
present condition of our free institutions, the propitious 
results of which from them may be transmitted through 
all succeeding ages, yet no monument has been erected 
to attract the admiring gaze of the passing traveller 
and perpetuate its memorable achievement. 

But there is yet at least one living emblem of the 
glory of that event, whose enduring nature seems to vie 
with the perpetuity of the sculptured marble : whose 
monumental record, it is hoped, may be one among the 
humble means destined to keep alive that spirit which 
was nurtured in the cradle of our liberties, and glowed 
in the breasts of our illustrious ancestors. 



The revolutionary incidents which led to the des- 
truction of the British tea in Boston Harbour, which 
have been mentioned in the preceeding pages, are prin- 
cipally from the relation of Hewes, one of the actors 
in that event. 

A view of the times in seventeen hundred and seven- 
ty three, strikingly evince how circumstances, trivial in 
themselves, are in the order of human affairs, rendered 
ihdispensible links in the great chain of events, which 
connect the various fortunes, and control the destinies of 

Of those men who had lived a long time under the 
same government, and prospered by a mutual and friend- 
ly commercial intercourse, as had the British and 
American people, it could not be expected that they, or 
the citizens of any other countries, under similar cir- 
cumstances, would fall to killing each other ; that they 
would commence the work of lawless depredation and 
murder, without some powerful pretext. A quarrel 


must precede, strong prejudices must first be excited, 
the angry and malignant passions must be first put 
in motion, to prepare men for the inhuman business of 
butchering each other, and of public robery. 

Such passions and prejudices were engendered in 
a seres of dissentions between the British and Amer- 
icans, relative to their respective political rights, pre' 
vious to the revolution. 

It will be recollected, that the British parliament a 
long time previous to the commencement of open hos- 
tilities between Great Britain and her American colo- 
nies, had claimed the right of taxing the latter, without 
their consent. Their determination to exercise such 
right, was announcd in positive and unequivocal terms, 
on the repeal of the famous stamp act, so obnoxious and 
repugnant to the views of the people of the then Amer- 
ican colonies. 

On the repeal of that law, it was resolved, " that par- 
liament had, hath, and of right ought to have full power 
and authority, to bind the colonies and people of Amer- 
ica, subject to the crown of Great Britian, in all cases 

Against this claim the Americans unhesitatingly 
declared, opposition ought to be made. 

After this resolution of parliament, in the month of 
November, 1766, a large transport ship, having on 


board a detachment of H. M. royal train of artilery 
bound for Quebec, after making many attempts to get 
up the river, in vain, was obliged to put into Bos- 
ton. The governor made provisions for them in pur- 
suance of an act of parliament. On the 30th of Janu- 
ary, 1767, the house of representatives begged to be 
informed, whether this had been done at the expense 
of the government ; and on learning that it was, re- 
monstrated in the strongest terms against the proceding, 
as an open violation of constitutional and charter 
rights. The governor referred the matter to the coun- 
cil, who advised him to submit it to the consideration of 
the house of representatives. They resolved that such 
provisions should be made for the British troops, as 
had been before usually made for his majesty's regular 
troops when occasionally in the province. The provi- 
sion made by the governor, was by virtue of an act of 
Parliament called the mutiny act. The Bostonians 
were not willing that their violent and tumultuous pro- 
ceedings occasioned by the usurpation of their rights, 
should at the will of the governor, be considered as acts 
of mutiny. They would not consent that their chief- 
magistrate should interpose, under any pretence, an au- 
thority, which virtually violated their constitutional and 
chartered rights. 

This visit of British troops at Boston, although occa- 


sioned by incidental circumstances, was an additional 
source of public agitation and excitement. 

In July, 1767, the parliament of Great Britain, im- 
posed duties on tea, glass and colours, imported from 
England into America ; and by their act at the same 
session, suppressed the duties on tea that should be 
shipped from England for America, and impose a duty 
of three pence per pound upon their introduction into 
the American ports. In the preamble to these acts it 
was declared, that the produce of these duties should be 
applied to defray the expenses of the government in 
America. It was also enacted at the same time, that 
the British ministry might from this fund, grant stipends 
and salaries to the governors, and to the judges in the 
colonies, and determine the amount of the same ; and as 
if purposely to irritate the minds of the Bostonians, by 
placing before their eyes the picture of the tax-gatherers 
to be employed in the collection of these duties, another 
act was passed, creating a permanent administration of 
the customs in America. And to crown the whole, as 
says the historian of those times, Boston was selected 
. for the seat of this new establishment. 

These measures of the British government, and her 
attempts to carry them into effect, greatly, increased the 
agitation of the public mind, more especially o£the citi- 


zens of Boston, where it had already been wrought up 
to an extraordinary degree of excitement. 

A town meeting was called, the first object of which 
was to take into consideration the expediency of adopt- 
ing measures to promote economy, industry, and manu- 
factures, thereby to prevent the unnecessary importation 
of European commodities. 

At this meeting a form was presented by a committee 
appointed for that purpose, in which the signers agree 
to encourage the use and consumption of all articles 
manufactured in any of the British American colonies, 
and not to purchase after the 31st of the then next De- 
cember, any of certain in numerated articles imported 
from abroad, and strictly to adhere to their late regula- 
tions respecting funerals, and not to use any gloves but 
what are manufactured here, nor procure any garments 
upon such occasions, but what should be absolutely ne- 
nessary.* Copies of their proceedings were directed to 
every town in the province, and all other principal towns 
in America, where they were generally approved and 

These measures of the Boston town meeting, greatly 
encouraged the opposition to British taxation. It was 
with difficulty, that persons disorderly inclined could be 
restrained from deeds of violence. 

Snow's Hist. Boston. 


An occurrence took place the 10th of June of this 
year, which exemplifies the spirit of those times. To- 
wards the evening of that day, the officers of the customs 
made a seizure of a sloop, belonging to, and lying at 
the wharf of John Hancock. The vessel was improved 
for the purpose of storing some barrels of oil, for which 
there was not room in the owner's store. One of the 
officers immediately made a signal to his majesty's ship 
Romney, Capt. Corner, then lying in the stream, upon 
which her boats were manned and armed, and made to 
wards the wharf. The officers were advised by several 
gentlemen, not to move the sloop, as there would be no 
attempt by the owner to rescue her out of their hands. 
But regardless of their advice, her fast was cut away 
and she carried under the guns of the Romney. .This 
provoked the people who were collected on the shore, 
the collector, (Harrison,) the comptroller, and collector's 
son, were roughly used and pelted with stones. The 
noise brought together a mixed multitude, who followed 
up to the comptroller's house, and broke some of his 
windows, but withdrew by the advice of some gentle- 
men who imterposed. They then went in search of the 
man-of-war boats, being joined by a party of sailors and 
vagrants, who were suspicious of an intention to impress 
them on board the ship. In their way they met the in- 
spector, Irvine ; him they attacked, broke his sword' 


and tore his clothes, but by some assistance he escaped. 
No boat being ashore, between 8 and 9 o'clock, they 
went to one of the docks, and dragged out a large plea- 
sure boat belonging to the collector. This they drew 
along the street with loud huzzaing all the way into the 
common, where they set fire to it and burnt it to ashes, 
also broke several windows in the houses of the col- 
lector and inspector-general, (Williams,) which were 
nigh the common. 

On the first of August, 211 Boston merchants and 
traders agreed, that for one year from the last day of 
the present year, they would not send for or import, 
either on their own account or on commission, or pur- 
chase of any that may import any kind of merchandize 
from Great Britain, except coal, salt, and some articles 
necessary for the fisheries j nor import any tea, glass, 
paper or colours, until the acts imposing duties on those 
articles were repealed. 

In the same month another difficulty occurred between 
some of the town people, and the crew of the Romney, 
in which the former gained their point, and compelled 
the man-of-war's men to quit the wharf, which they did 
in great fury ; and soon after a large company celebra- 
ted the anniversary of the first opposition to the stamp 
act at the tree of liberty. 

The spirit of opposition to the measures and the au- 


thority of the British government, furnished Gen. Gage, 
who was commander of the military forces in North- 
America, with a sufficient pretence for sending a por- 
tion of regular troops into Boston. On the 30th of 
September, 1768, six of his majesty's ships of war, 
armed schooners, transports, &c. came up the harbour, 
and anchored round the town, their cannon loaded, and 
springs on their cables, as for a regular siege. 

The next day a detachment of troops, and train of 
artillery with two pieces of cannon landed on the long 
wharf, then formed and marched with insolent parade, 
drums beating, fifes playing, and colours flying, up 
Kings-street, each soldier having received sixteen round 
of shot. 

This was the first landing of British troops on our 
shores, for the purpose of intimidating, or coercing the 
Americans into submission to the system of taxation 
which they claimed a right to impose. 

The council objected to provide quarters for the troops, 
contending that they were forbidden by law to quarter 
them in the town, while the barracks at the castle were 
not filled. They were, however, lodged in town, some 
in the town house, some in Faneuil hall, and some in 
stores at Griffin's wharf, and the town was thus afflicted 
with all the appearance and inconvenience of a garri- 
soned place. 


It was about this time that the luxury of tea was first 
proscribed in Boston, when two hundred families in 
that town agreed to abstain entirely from the use of it 
by a certain day, the 6th of October then next follow- 
ing; other towns followed the example, and entered 
into similar agreements. The students of Harvard 
College were highly applauded, for resolving, with a 
spirit becoming Americans, to use no more of that per- 
nicious herb; and a gentleman in that town, finding it 
in very little demand, shipped off a considerable quantity 
of the despised article. 

Amusements, that would have been at other times inno- 
cent and congenial, were now foregone : especially if they 
were to be partaken with those who were held to be the 
instruments of despotism. Of this a striking example 
was exhibited the winter after the British troops arrived. 
Some of the crown officers, who thought the public 
gloom disloyal, circulated a proposal for a regular series 
of dancing assemblies with the insiduous design of en- 
gaging the higher classes in fashionable festivity, to 
falsify the assertions of the prevailing distresss, and also 
to undermine the sterne reserve, that was maintained 
toward the army, and thereby allay the indignation 
against the system they were sent to enforce, but out of 
the contracted limits of their own circle, they could not 
obtain the presence of any ladies. Elegant manners, 


gay uniforms, animating bands of music, the natural 
impulse of youth, all were resisted ; the women of Bos- 
ton refused to join in ostentatious gaiety while their 
country was in mourning.* This artifice of the British 
officers, designed to weaken the energies of the oppo- 
sition, to what they intended eventually to effect by 
force, was too well understood by the ladies of Boston 
to have the desired success. They exhibited in this 
instance of self-denial, the same spirit which had indu- 
ced them to dash from their lips the poisonous herb, 
when the use of it was in any way to compete with the 
rights of their country, the same spirit which ever after 
lighted the path, and gave an impulse to our armies in 
their victory, and independence. 

The town of Boston at this crisis, was in a situation 
nearly similar to that of actual war, and no occasion 
was neglected either by the British or Bostonians, to 
engender a state of open hostilities. 

It will be recollected, that in a preceding page, it has 
been related by Hewes, that a boy by the name of Snider 
was killed by one Richardson, who it appears had ac- 
quired the appellation of informer. This event was a 
fruitful source of excitement against the British govern- 
ment, and as such was improved by the Bostonians. 

This innocent lad was announced as the first whose 

* Snow's Hist. Boston, p. 43. 



life had been a victim to the cruelty and rage of the 

All the friends of liberty were invited to attend his 
funeral. Young as he was, it was said he died in his 
country's cause, by the hand of one directed by others, 
who could not bear to seethe enemies of America, made 
the ridicule of boys. The little corpse was set down 
under the tree of liberty, from which the procession be- 
gan. The coffin bore inscriptions appropriate to the 
times; on the foot 'latet anguis in herba ;' on each 
side, « Haeret lateri lethalis arundo ;' and on the head, 
' innocentia nusquam tuta.' Four or five hundred 
school boys, in couples, preceded the corpse ; six of the 
lads, play fellows, supported the pall, the relatives fol- 
lowed, and after them a train of 1300 inhabitants on 
foot, and thirty chariots and chaises, closed the proces- 
sion. A more imposing spectacle, or one better adapted 
to produce a lasting impression on the hearts of the be- 
holders, can hardly be conceived. 

The morning papers, which told of this transaction, 
gave also several accounts of quarrels between the sol- 
diers and some of the citizens. Such was the state of 
the public mind, that the officers were apprehensive of 
difficulties, and were particularly active to get all their 
men into their barracks before night. 

As a measure of precaution, there was a sentinel sta- 


tioned in an ally, (then called Boyleston ally,) and this 
circumstance was one that led to the quarrel, which ter- 
minated in the Boston massacre, related by Hewes.* 
Three or four young men who were disposed to go 
through the ally about nine o'clock, observed the sen- 
tinel brandishing his sword against the walls, and stri- 
king fire for his own amusement. They were challen- 
ged, but persisted in their attempt, one of them received 
a slight wound upon his head. The bustle of this ren- 
contre drew together great numbers, who were passing 
the ally, and a considerable number collected in Dock- 
square, attempted to force their way to the barracks. 
As the party dispersed from Docksquare, they ran in 
different directions ; a part of them ran to the custom 
house, before which stood the sentinel, who being terri- 
fied, ran to the steps of the house and alarmed the in- 
mates, by three or four powerful knocks at the door. 
Captain Preston was sent for to defend the officers, and 
disperse the citizens, who were there collected in great 
numbers. When Captain Preston came with his guard, 
the Boston massacre, as it has been called, was the 
result. The author of this little volume has not been 
able to discover among the historians of those times, 
any uniform accounts of the various incidents, relating 

* See page 28, 29, &c. 


to the events, which led to the American revolution. 
And it is here worthy of remark, that different histo- 
rians of the same events, are seldom found, to discover 
all the circumstances which relate to them. 

The historian must necessarily derive the materials 
for his work from various sources, and often from per- 
sons, the correctness of whose relations, will depend 
perhaps on the different degrees of their integrity, and 
of their strength of memory. He therefore must he 
very fortunate in his investigations, who does not fail of 
learning many things, relating to the subject of his 

Besides, he who happens to he the second historian 
of the same events, either through a false ambition, to 
avoid the imputation of plagiarism, or to gain currency 
for his work ; by the novelty of its materials, may, in 
his ambition to give it popularity, deteriorate from the 
correctness of its history. And even among those 
whose knowledge of past events, may be equal, some 
may differ in their views, respecting what might be con- 
sidered the most judicious selection of materials, while 
others, through the influence of prejudice, or interest, or 
passion, are liable to give to their narration of events, a 
false colouring. 

In times of great political excitement in populous 
cities, various reports respecting its origin and progress 


are found to prevail, according to the diversity of cir- 
cumstances, which may come to the knowledge of dif- 
ferent individuals, or to the various prejudices, by which 
the conduct of those who mingle in such scenes may be 
governed. The different exciting causes of agitation, 
and the numbers which are often convened, in different 
groups and localities, render it often difficult, perhaps 
impossible, in a high state of excitement, for any indi- 
vidual to acquire a correct knowledge of all the facts 
relating to such scenes. Of the correctness of this view 
of popular excitements, those who have witnessed them 
in our large cities, at the present time, can bear testi- 
mony. In sketching the biography of an individual, 
who has been an actor in scenes of violent excitement, 
we must expect to confine our narration to the account 
of his personal knowledge. From these views of in- 
formation, to be derived from the past, and from the un- 
impeachable integrity of Hewes, his account of the 
incidents, relating to the part assigned to him, in the 
scenes of the revolution, has claims to our entire con- 

It was fortunate for the American people, that the 

principal causes which led to the violent excitement in 

Boston, previous to their revolutionary struggle, were 

by them at that time, so well understood. Neither has 



the time yet past, when they may make a wise use of 
the lessons of instruction which they furnish. 

There ever has been, and it is to be apprehended, ever 
will be certain periods in the course of human events, 
when the affairs of civil government excite an extraor- 
dinary interest in the public mind. 

Such was the condition of the British American co- 
lonies during the term of five or six years, next prece- 
ding the commencement of the war of the revolution in 

The assumption of power, by the British Parliament, 
was considered by the great mass of the American peo- 
ple, as opposed to every just view of political right. 

It was not on account of the intolerable burden of any 
tea which the British government had imposed, but 
against the justice of the claim, they would maintain, to 
the right of taxing the American colonies in all cases 
whatever, that the opposition of the Americans was 

Although the people of some of the colonies had con- 
sented to accept of the British parliament, charters of 
incorporation, as the basis of the constitution and laws, 
by which they had administered the affairs of their civil 
government, and others had permitted their chief magi- 
strate to derive his power and prerogatives from the 
same source, they did not consider that this by any con- 


struction, could be an implied abandonment of their own 
natural right, to make and establish their own forms of 
government, independent of any foreign aid, or, the in- 
terposition of any other power. Neither did they be- 
lieve, that because their ancestors in the first or second 
degree of affinity, had been subjects of the British gov- 
ernment, this circumstance would give to that govern- 
ment the right to tax the descendants of such ancestors 
in all cases whatever, and to the end of time. 

It was therefore believed there was at that time just 
cause of excitement on the part of the Americans, and 
every indication of the intention of the British Parlia- 
ment to coerce obedience to their measures, discover- 
able by the citizens of Boston, was sure to be met with 
the most resolute opposition ; in the progress of which, 
acts of lawless violence were continually occurring, 
which it was difficult, if not impossible to restrain. 

While the inhabitants of Boston and the British colo- 
nies were thus exquisitively sensible to whatever they 
deemed hostile to their rights, resenting with equal in- 
dignation the most trivial as the most serious attack ; a 
resolution was taken in England, which if executed, 
would have given the victory to the government, and 
reduced the Americans to the condition to which they 
had such an extreme repugnance. 

Their obstinacy in refusing to pay the duty on tea, 


rendered the smuggling of it an object, and was fre- 
quently practiced, and their resolutions against using it, 
although observed by many with little fidelity, had 
greatly diminished the importation into the colonies of 
this commodity. Meanwhile an immense quantity of it 
was accumulated in the warehouses of the East India 
Company in England. This company petitioned the 
king to surpress the duty of three pence per pound upon 
its introduction into America, and to continue the six 
pence upon its exportation from the ports of England ; 
such a measure would have given the government an 
advantage of three pence per pound, and relieved the 
Americans from a law they abhorred. But the gov- 
ernment would not consent, as they were more solici- 
tous about the right than the measure. 

The company, however, received permission to trans- 
port tea, free of all duty, from Great Britain to America, 
and to introduce it there on paying a duty of three 

Hence it was no longer the small vessels of private 
merchants, who went to vend tea for their own account 
in the ports of the colonies, but, on the contrary, ships 
of an enormous burthen, that transported immense quan- 
tities of this commodity, which, by the aid of the public 
authority, might, as they supposed, easily be landed, 
and amassed in suitable magazines. Accordingly the 


company sent to its agents at Boston, New- York, and 
Philadelphia, six hundred chests of tea, and a propor- 
tionate number to Charleston, and other maritime cities 
of the American continent. The colonies were now 
arrived at the decisive moment when they must cast the 
dye, and determine their course in regard to parliamen- 
tary taxes. 

For, as has been observed in a preceding page, if the 
tea was permitted to be landed, it would be sold and the 
duty consequently must have been paid. It was there- 
fore resolved to exert every effort to prevent the landing. 

Even in England individuals were not wanting, who 
fanned this fire ; some from a desire to baffle the gov- 
ernment, others from motives of private interest, says 
the historian of that event, and jealousy at the opportu- 
nity offered the East India Company, to make immense 
profits to their prejudice. 

These opposers of the measure in England wrote 
therefore to America, encouraging a strenuous resist- 
ance. They represented to the colonists that this would 
prove their last trial, and that if they should triumph 
now, their liberty was secured forever; but if they 
should yield, they must bow their necks to the yoke of 
slavery. The materials were so prepared and disposed 
that they could easily kindle. 

At Philadelphia, those to whom the teas of the com- 


pany were intended to be consigned, were induced by 
persuasion, or constrained by menaces, to promise, on 
no terms, to accept the proffered consignment. 

At New- York, Captain Sears and McDougal, daring 
and enterprising men, effected a concert of will, between 
the smugglers, the merchants, and the sons of liberty. 

Pamphlets suited to the conjuncture, were daily dis- 
tributed, and nothing was left unattempted by popular 
leaders, to obtain their purpose. 

The factors of the company were obliged to resign 
their agency, and return to England. In Boston the 
general voice declared the time was come to face the 
storm. Why do we wait ? they exclaimed ; soon or 
late we must engage in connect with England. Hun- 
dreds of years may roll away before the ministers can 
have perpetrated as many violations of our rights, as 
they have committed within a few years. The oppo- 
sition is formed ; it is general ; it remains for us to 
seize the occasion. The more we delay the more 
strength is acquired by the ministers. Now is the time 
to prove our courage, or be disgraced with our brethren 
of the other colonies, who have their eyes fixed upon 
us, and will be prompt in their succour if we show our- 
selves faithful and firm. 

This was the voice of the Bostonians in 1771. The 
factors who were to be the consignees of the tea, were 


urged to renounce their agency, but they refused, and 
took refuge in the fortress. A guard was placed on 
Griffin's wharf, near where the tea ships were moored. 
It was agreed that a strict watch should be kept ; that 
if any insult should be offered, the bell should be im- 
mediately rung; and some persons always ready to 
bear intelligence of what might happen, to the neigh- 
bouring towns, and to call in the assistance of the 
country people. 

On the 28th of November, 1773, the ship Dartmouth, 
with 112 chests arrived; and the next morning after, 
the following notice was widely circulated. 

Friends, Brethren, Countrymen! That worst of 
plagues, the detested tea, has arrived in this harbour. 
The hour of destruction, a manly opposition to the ma- 
chinations of tyranny, stares you in the face. Every 
friend to his country, to himself, and to posterity, is now 
called upon to meet at Faneuil Hall, at nine o'clock, 
this day, (at which time the bells will ring,) to make a 
united and successful resistance to this last, worst, and 
most destructive measure of administration. 

This notification brought together a vast concourse of 
the people of Boston and the neighbouring towns, at the 
time and place appointed. When it was resolved that 
the tea should be returned to the place from whence it 
came at all events, and no duty paid thereon. The 


arrival of other cargoes of tea soon after, increased the 
agitation of the public mind, already wrought up to a 
degree of desperation, and ready to break out into acts 
of violence, on every trivial occasion of offence. Things 
thus appeared to be hastening to a disastrous issue. 
The people from the country arrived in great numbers, 
the inhabitants of the town assembled. This assembly 
which was on the 16th of December, 1773, was the 
most numerous ever known, there being more than 
2000 from the country present. Finding no measures 
were likely to be taken, either by the governor, or the 
commanders, or owners of the ships, to return their 
cargoes or prevent the landing of them, at 5 o'clock a 
vote was called for the dissolution of the meeting and 
obtained. But some of the more moderate and judicious 
members, fearing what might be the consequences, 
asked for a reconsideration of the vote, offering no other 
reason, than that they ought to do every thing in their 
power to send the tea back, according to their previous 
resolves. This, says the historian of that event, touched 
the pride of the assembly, and they agreed to remain 
together one hour. 

In this conjuncture, Josiah Quiney, a man of great 
influence in the colony, of a vigorous and cultivated 
genius, and strenuously opposed to ministerial enter- 
prises, wishing to apprise his fellow-citizens of the im- 


portance of the crisis, and direct their attention to pro- 
bable results which might follow, after demanding 
silence said, l This ardour and this impetuosity, which 
are manifested within these walls, are not those that are 
requisite to conduct us to the object we have in view ; 
these may cool, may abate, may vanish like a flittering 
shade. Quite other spirits, quite other efforts are es- 
sential to our salvation. Greatly will he deceive him- 
self, who shall think, that with cries, with exclamations, 
with popular resolutions, we can hope to triumph in 
this conflict, and vanquish our inveterate foes. Their 
malignity is implacable, their thirst of vengeance insa- 
tiable. They have their allies, their accomplices, even 
in the midst of us, — even in the bosom of this innocent 
country ; and who is ignorant of the power of those 
who have conspired our ruin % Who knows not their 
artifices ? Imagine not therefore, that you can bring 
this controversy to a happy conclusion without the most 
strenuous, the most arduous, the most terrible conflict ; 
consider attentively the difficulty of the enterprise, and 
the uncertainty of the issue. Reflict and ponder, even 
ponder well, before you embrace the measures, which 
are to involve this country in the most perilous enter- 
prise the world has witnessed.' 

The question was then immediately put, whether the 
landing of the tea should be opposed ? and carried in 


the affirmative unanimously. Rotch, to whom the cargo 
of tea had been consigned, was then requested to de- 
mand of the governor a permit to pass the castle. The 
latter answered haughtily, that for the honor of the laws, 
and from duty towards the king, he could not grant the 
permit, until the vessel was regularly cleared. A vio- 
lent commotion immediately ensued ; and it is related 
by one historian of that scene, that a person disguised 
after the manner of the Indians, who was in the gallery, 
shouted at this juncture, the cry of war ; and that the 
meeting dissolved in the twinkling of an eye, and the 
multitude rushed in a mass to Griffin's wharf. 

This address of Mr. Quincy on the subject of destroy- 
ing the tea, was the last which was intended to inspire 
the courage of the citizens to embark in that mighty 
enterprise. He was the whig orator, who, it has been 
said by some historians, was exclaiming against all 
violent measures relating to the landing of the tea, when 
the meeting dissolved in great confusion, and the 
Indians in disguise, were seen making their way to 
Griffin's wharf, to board the British tea ships. 

It might have been said by the personal friends of 
Mr. Quincy, who were opposed to the destruction of 
the tea, that his remarks were intended to check the 
disposition to that measure of which he doubtless had 
seen indications in the public mind. But if his speech 


on this occasion, savored a little of equivocation, the pe- 
culiar crisis of the times, and a proper regard for his 
own safety, might well justify them. He doubtless 
contemplated the result which was expected to follow, 
and believed in the expediency and necessity of conceal- 
ing from the knowledge of the world, those, who either 
encouraged or were to execute that project. 

The execution of it, however, which immediately 
followed, took place not only in the presence of several 
ships of war, as has been related, hut almost under the 
guns of the castle, where there was a large body of 
troops at the command of the commissioners ; and well 
might the historian remark, we are left to conjuncture, 
even until the present time, for the reasons why no op- 
position was made to this bold adventure. 

They who dared to engage in it, had the honour of 
a part in the act, which brought the king and parlia- 
ment to a decision, that America must be subdued by 
force of arms. 

This event, and the establishment of the American 
republic, which was the final result, has taught not only 
the people of the United States, but the world, that op- 
pressed man possesses the power of becoming free ; that 
a bold and hardy race like that which achieved our in- 
depence, may by a long sense of abuses and usurpations, 
be roused from the lethargy of oppression, shake off 


their fetters, fly to arms, vanquish their oppressors, and 
raise to liberty and to glory. But we have yet to learn 
whether the wisdom and the efforts of the American 
people, to perpetuate the blessings of liberty, will or 
will not be exhausted in vain. Although we have 
learned from the events of the past, that we have had 
courage to purchase liberty, we have yet to learn, 
w r hether we have the wisdom and virtue, without which 
its duration cannot be perpetuated. 

By a glance at the event, the recollection of which 
this humble memoir is intended to revive in the mind, 
it will be seen that there is the same connexion between 
cause and effect in the political as in the natural and 
moral world. That a single event inconsiderable in 
itself, as it may appear in the progress of things, may 
occasion a succession of important events, which may 
change the condition of a whole nation, through al 
future times. 

One ill-concerted project, one rash and injudicious 
act of usurped power, may inflict evils on community, 
which an act of wisdom cannot remove. 

The claim of the British Parliament, to unlimited 
power, was engendered in the councils of lawless am- 
bition. Such a power maybe conferred by freemen on 
one or any number of those over whom it is to be exer- 
cised ; but as no individual has a right to claim such 


power, so neither has one independent nation a Tight to 
usurp the exercise of it over any other possessing the 
same right to its independence. 

Great Britain had by a series of precedents, and 
usages, merged all the ingredients of what was entitled 
her civil constitution, in the legislative power of Parlia- 
ment; to which one of her most eminent jurists has 
been pleased to ascribe the quality of omnipotence. 

By an effort to exercise this power over the American 
colonies, she incurred the displeasure, and awoke into 
active opposition, the moral and physical energies of 
the American people. On the 16th day of December, 
1773, a limitation was set to the progress of her usur- 

By the ill-concerted project of taxing the American 
colonies, and the rash and injudicious attempts to exe- 
cute it, Great Britain lost a dominion, which in the ex- 
ercise of a just and constitutional power, she might 
have extended to the western ocean, and hailed as her 
loyal subjects, the countless millions which are to peo- 
ple one quarter of the globe. 

But the time had arrived, when in the course of 
events, another trial of man's capacity for self-govern- 
ment was to commence. 

Half a century has already rolled away, since we 


have been progressing on the tide of successful experi- 

To prepare the way for the American people to finally 
triumph over the destinies which have heretofore decided 
the fate of republics, the actors on the political stage, in 
the turbulent scenes of 1773, did all that could be done 
for their country and for posterity, under the appalling 
circumstances which attended their condition at that 
time, it is astonishing that they could do so much. It 
belongs to the present generation, to so improve, if pos- 
sible, what those who have gone before us have done, 
as to render the duration of our privileges perpetual. 

Nothing can better secure to Americans, success in 
the experiment of self-government, which they are ma- 
king, than to often take a retrospect of the past. A 
prospect of the scenes which are opening before us in 
America, is. in the prophetic language of one of our 
illustrious sires, 'like contemplating the heavens through 
the telescopes of Herschell : objects stupenduous in their 
magnitudes and motions, strike us from all quarters and 
fill us with amazement.' When we recollect that the 
wisdom or the folly, the virtue or the vice, the liberty 
or servitude, of those millions now beheld by us, only 
as Columbus saw these times in vision,* are certainly to 
be influenced, perhaps finally decided, by the manners. 

* Barlow's vision of Columbus. 


examples, principles, and political institutions of the pre- 
sent generation, that mind must be hardened into stone, 
that is not melted into reverence and awe. With such 
affecting scenes before his eyes, is there, can there be 
an American youth, indolent and incurious ; unmindful 
of the past and regardless of the future ; surrendered up 
to dissipation and frivolity ; vain of imitating the loosest 
manner of countries which can never be made much 
better, or much worse ? A profligate American youth 
must be profligate indeed, and richly merits the scorn 
of all mankind. 

The laws which govern human actions and passions, 
have hitherto decided the progress and fate of repub- 
lics. But although the natural tendency of the human 
disposition, has ever been the same, Americans may 
hope, by the wisdom of their national policy and edu- 
cation, so to improve their moral and political state, as 
to encourage anticipations of more permanency to free 
institutions, than has hitherto marked their course. 

This object cannot be effected, by any efforts to im- 
prove the superstructure of our government, without a 
scrupulous regard to the principles on which it is 
based, and which are the bulwark of its defence. 

If the first and fundamental principles of our repub- 
lic, are impaired and disregarded, the superstructure 
will dwindle, and eventually crumble into ruins. 


It is characteristic of the human disposition, to dis- 
regard the lessons of experience, and to direct the con- 
duct by the impulses of the present moment. This 
trait in the character of man, might well have inspired 
the poetical effusion : — 

" Not one looks backward, onward still he goes, 
Yet ne'er looks forward further than his nose." 

In the progress of great political revolutions, when 
the established order of things is to be subverted, and 
a N new one erected on its ruins, the extreme exigencies 
of those whose efforts are to effect these great objects, 
impel them to invoke the aid of such as are most dis- 
tinguished for their physical and intellectual energies, 
for their virtues and their wisdom. 

Without inviduous comparisons, it will be conceded, 
that no assemblage of individuals of equal number, 
either in our own or any other country, has ever been 
found to contain a greater number, of those who were 
preeminently distinguished for such qualities, or whose 
capacities were so appropriately adapted to the trans- 
cendent work of aohieveing our Independence, as 
those illustrious personages, to whom it was assigned. 

If we would duly estimate our political condition, 
and preserve its privileges, we should often review the 
characters of those, by whose efforts it was acquired, 
that we may be thereby inspired by the influence of 


their example, with incentives to imitate their deeds of 
glory. To evince the importance of this duty, and 
aid the American people, in the performance of it, 
events seem to have been so ordered, that an unusual 
number of the venerable veterans and sages from the 
front ranks of our revolutionary conflict, have been per- 
mitted to outride not only the storm of war, but the more 
fatal devastations of time, as the living monuments of 
their well earned fame, and to teach by their example, 
what moral, intellectual and physical endowments, had 
proved efficient, in wresting from the hand of oppres- 
sion and of power, the fortunes of their country. 

The last of those immortal patriots* whose names 
sealed the resolution of our Independence, and pro- 
claimed it to the world, has but recently disappeared 
from the drama of human life ; and the last survivor 
of those, who with the tomahawk and club, vetoed the 
unconstitutional and usurped power of the British 
Parliament, sixty years ago, yet lives, and exhibits to 
our view a bold and manly visage, of which an imper- 
fect sketch is portrayed in the frontispiece of this little 
volume^ which may well inspire our veneration and 
respect, for the vigor, the integrity and the intelligence 
of the mind to which it is an appropriate index. When 
he shall be called to yield the extraordinary vigor of 

* Charles Carroll, of Baltimore. 


his nature, as he soon must, and mingle his with the 
consecrated ashes of the martyrs and sages of the 
revolution, it is hoped the same spirit of liberty which 
inspired them, may Phoenix like arise, and find in this 
section of the globe an interminable existence. 

The same principles which dissolved the American 
colonies, from their allegience to the British govern- 
ment, will, so long as we continue to revere and regard 
them, preserve and defend our republics, but no longer. 

We did not believe that freemen should be subjected 
to a power undeligated by them, — unlimited and un- 
defined by any civil constitution. It must indeed be 
an herculean task, to overcome the influence of this 
principle, on the conduct of American freemen. How 
far that influence may be enfeebled, by the corruption 
of manners, which a long and uninterrupted state of 
prosperity tends to produce ; or from falling on times, 
with which, as the poet says, principles may change, 
must depend on the events of the future. 

It is true, that the same sun that warms the earth, 
and decks the field with flowers, thaws out the serpent 
in his fen, and concocts his poison. So in the sunshine 
of great national prosperity, the greatest political evils 
may be engendered. 

Amidst the conflicts of contending factions, of pas^ 
6ion, of vice and error, the principles which conducted 


us to an exalted place among the nations of the earth, 
may yet be assailed. 

Should that time arrive, when, in the agitations of 
the public mind, we may be threatened with the same 
disasters which have heretofore befallen the republics 
which have gone before us, our civil constitution may 
still save us, provided we are influenced by the exam- 
ple, and animated by the spirit of the heroes who pur- 
chased it, and of the sages by whose wisdom and vir- 
tue it was formed and adopted. That spirit and that 
wisdom only can preserve it. That spirit which is 
designated by the degrading and odious name of par- 
ty cannot save us; it is that which creates dissen- 
tions, and entails misery and ruin on republics ; it is 
that which we have been told by our greatest political 
benefactor, that has in other times and countries, per- 
petrated the most horrid enormities, and is itself a 
frightful despotism. If we expect to be saved by our 
civil constitution, and secure for liberty an immortal 
existence, we must be inspired with that spirit which in 
the best days of Roman glory, could yield every thing 
to country, and identify with her, its own individual 
interest. We must be governed in our political con- 
duct, by that spirit which is appropriately designated 
by no other, than the hallowed name of American ; 
that spirit which inspired the desperate courage, and 
exalted the patriotism of the Boston tea party. 


Men whose inheritance is only obscurity and want, 

often destined to save the sinking fortunes of 

their country 3 

Those least ambitious of power and preferment con- 
signed to oblivion by popular opinion - 3 

In the distribution of public favours, the idle and 
powerful are generally preferred to the useful 
and obscure .... 3 

Magnanimous deeds of courage incident to every 
condition, were indispensable means of estab- 
lishing our civil privileges - - 4 

Instances of those distinguished by such deeds, 
during the revolution ... 5 

A reference to the causes which led to the war of 
the revolution - - - 5 


170 INDEX. 


The refusal of the Americans to pay the duty on 
tea, one of the most immediate and prominent of 
those causes - - - - 6 

The historical account of the destruction of the tea 
in Boston harbour 

Account continued - - - -7 

The destruction of the British tea in Boston har- 
bour, the commencement of a reformation, which 
might improve the condition of mankind in all 
ages to come - - - - 8 

The projector of an important enterprise has not 
an exclusive claim to the merit, or the renown 
to be derived from its propitious results 8 

He whose efforts accomplish the enterprise is 
entitled to his share in the renown - - 9 

Illustrated by a lesson from history - - 9 

The project of drowning the tea in Boston harbour 
would have been inefficient without the desperate 
courage of those who executed it - - 9 

INDEX. 171 


Individuals may be supposed to be endowed with 

qualities suited to the part they are destined to 

act on the stage of human life - - 9, 10 

The distinctions of rank and fortune are sought as 

the sure passports to preferment - - 10 

Between the circumstances of great members, there 
is a striking similitude - - - - 10 

A knowledge of the diversified incidents of human 
life in all its forms, contribute to amusement and 
instruction - - - - - 10 

Distinctions created in the order of nature have 
claims on the perpetuity of the monumental re- 
cord, as well as those created by the usual pass- 
ports to preferment .... 

The usual passports to preferment not conferred on 
the subject of the following memoir - - 11 

One memorable deed conferred on him more sub- 
stantial fame and durable glory, than should the 
conquest of the world - - - - 1 1 

In the unfashionable pursuits of honest industry, 

172 INDEX. 


a great part of the life of Hewes has been bu- 
ried in the depths of obscurity - - - 1 1 

He has been blessed with a capacity to preserve 
what millions of the inheritors of wealth and fame 
and preferment have lost, he has preserved his 
physical and intellectual powers, his capacity for 
sensual and social enjoyment, and his integrity 
of character - - - - - 11 

The present place of the residence of Hewes - 13 

The seclusion of its locality from social intercourse 14 

Reflections on the striking contrast between his 
circumstances at the present time and in 1773 14 

The present condition of his physical powers pro- 
mise a considerable protraction of his life - 15 

His integrity unimpeachable - - - 15 

The few incidents of his life recorded in the prece- 
ding memoir, depend for their correctness, on 
the strength of his memory, and his veracity * 15 

An account of his age - - - - 16 

INDEX. 173 



That men, whose inheritance is obscurity and want, 
may be capable of saving the sinking fortunes 
of their country, exemplified in the person and 
character of Hewes - - * - 16 

Fortuitous circumstances beyond the control of in- 
dividuals, first throw open to them the doors of 
the temple of their fame - - - 17 

A glance at the history of Hewes, and a view of 
his present condition, indicate in him the prere- 
quisite constituents of a great man - - 17 

His education very limited - - - 17 

His account of his ancestors - - - 18 

His relation of some circumstances of his birth and 
name, from the account of his mother - - 18 

Exposed in his infancy to the mischiefs to which 
children are liable in populous cities - - 19 

An account of his being drowned and restored to 
life, at the age of six years - - - 19 

His account of his mother chastising him for expo- 

174 INDEX. 


sing himself by his childish curiosity to that 
catastrophe - - - - - 20 

His remarks on the good effect that chastisement 
had on his future conduct - - - 2.0 

Soon after bound an apprentice to his uncle at 
Wrentham, who was a farmer - - -20 

His relation of a chastisement inflicted by his aunt 
upon him while at Wrentham, and his effort to 
administer equal justice on that occasion, by pun- 
ishing her son - 20-2 

His account of the acquittal to him by his uncle 
from all blame in the controversy with his aunt 22 

His characteristic independence of spirit exhibited 
on that occasion - - - - %% 

A custom of that period, related by Hewes, of post- 
poning the punishment of children for their 
offences, until the day after their commission - 23 

Taken from his uncle at Wrentham and put an 
apprentice to learn the trade of a shoemaker - 23 

INDEX. X 175 


Not an occupation of his choice, or suited to his 
taste and faculties - - - - 23 

The injudicious conduct of parents in choosing 
occupations for children, unsuited to their taste 
and inclination, exemplified in the history and 
character of Hewes - - - - 23 

He enlists as a soldier in the war of the British 
government, waged to resist the claims of the 
French in North America, hut could not pass 
muster because he was not tall enough - 24 

The artifice he practiced to remedy that incapacity 24 

On a re-examination by the muster master, it being 
found he had raised the heels of his shoes, and 
stuffed rags into the bottom of his stockings, he 
was again rejected - - - - 24 

The artifice practiced by Hewes to avoid his dis- 
qualification to become a soldier, exhibited in 
him a temper and inclination strikingly similar 
to that noticed in the juvenile temper of Sir Wal- 
ter Scott - - - - - 25 

Gives an account of his marriage, and residence in 

176 INDEX. 


Boston from the conclusion of the French war 
until the differences of the American colonies 
with Great Britain commenced - - 27 

His account of the massaere of the citizens of Bos- 
ton by the British soldiers, under the command 
of Capt. Preston - - - - 28 

He was among those who were fired upon by the 
British soldiers - - - - 29 

His account of the trial of Capt. Preston and the 
soldiers for the murder of the citizens - - 31 

His account of being knocked down in the street 
at Boston by a custom-house officer, by the name 
of Malcom - - - - - 33 

The Boston whigs inflict summary punishment on 
Malcom with whipping, tar and feathers, and 
half hanging - - - - - 34 

Hewes narrowly escapes from the fatal effects of 
the wound inflicted by Malcom, and yet shows 
the scar it occasioned - - - - 25 

The account which Hewes gives of the destruc- 
tion of the British tea - - - - 36 

* v INDEX. 177 


A meeting of the citizens of the county of Suffolk 
to consult on measures to prevent the landing of 

the tea - - - - - - 37 

A committee appointed at the meeting to inquire of 
the governor if he would take measures to pre- 
vent the collection of the tax upon it - 38 

Governor Hutchinson gives the committee an eva- 
sive answer, and retires to his country seat, six 
miles from Boston - - - - 38 

The meeting*dissolved immediately on the report 
of the committee - - - - 38 

Hewes' account of the manner he disguised himself 
in the costume and visage of an Indian - 38 

The manner of discharging the cargo of tea from 
the vessel described - - - - 39 

Attempts made by the tories to save for themselves 
a little tea from the decks of the vessels - 40 

Anecdote of one Capt. O' Conner, who was detected 
in the act of taking the tea - • - 40 

178 INDEX. ' 


Anecdote of an aged man who was seized in the 
act of taking tea, and lost his hat and wig - 41 

Attempts made to establish an habitual disuse of 
tea by force of public opinion - - -42 

Such attempts opposed by the tories - - 42 

Theophilus Lilly, publicly insulted for selling tea 43 

A German boy killed by one Richardson, the 
kings tide waiter for encouraging the insults to 
Lilly - . - - t - . 

Richardson seized, taken before a magistrate by 
the name of Dinny, who ordered him to give 
bonds, with sureties for his appearance and trial 44 

Richardson and his sureties, who were tories, 
escape to Halifax - - - - 44 

Remarks on the wisdom of the policy and expedi- 
ency of destroying the British tea - - 45 

The act of destroying the tea expected to engender 
a state of hostilities with the British government, 
and might be considered as an implied declara- 

INDEX. 179 


tionof a war or rebellion, on the part of the colony 
of Massachusetts » - 

Those who are known to have aided in executing 
that project are entitled to their full share in the 
glory of that event - - - - 49 

The volunteer heroes of the Boston tea party had 
none of the usual incitements to action which 
impel the hero to great and glorious deeds in the 
field of battle - - - - - 49 

They were signally exposed to the fire of the armed 
British ships, as well as to the treachery of their 
fellow assailants - - - - 51 

Hewes and his associates, in destroying the tea 
must have acted wholly upon their own respon- 
sibility, in a matter which related to the general 
interest of their country and the rights of mankind 53 

The violent seizure and destruction of the British 
tea in Boston harbour, in 1773, commanded the 
attention of our sages,' and inspired the spirit of 
our poets, more than any single event at that 
time - 54 

180 INDEX. 


The notice of it by a celebrated poet of those times 54 

Remarks on the tragi-comical exhibition of the 
Boston tea project - - - - 54 

The boasted courage of the British lion stood ap- 
palled before the majesty of the Boston mob 56 

The magnanimous patriotism of the American wo- 
men in abandoning the use of tea, for the pur- 
pose of establishing their country's independence 56 

Remarks on their influence in society - 57 

A comparison between the patriotism of the Ameri- 
can and Roman ladies - - - 58 

Hewes' account of the condition of Boston, imme- 
diately after the tea was destroyed - 59 

Of Governor Gage's treachery in disarming the 
citizens - - - - 59 

The males who were fit to bear arms were prohi- 
bited from leaving the town, except under certain 
regulations, established for the purpose of reliev- 
ing his troops, not to favour the people of Boston 60 

INDEX. 181 


Hewes subjected himself to the governor's regula- 
tions for nine weeks 60 

Made his escape in a fishing boat with two other 
men, and repairs to his family at Wrentham 60 

Admiral Graves suspicions that Hewes intended 
to make his escape - - - 61 

Threatened to hang him at the yard arm if he did 61 

Treachery of a British soldier - - 61 

Informs Hewes that the Americans could take the 
fort from the British without difficulty - 61 

A British officer reproves the soldier for speaking 
to Hewes - - - - 61 

Makes an assault upon Hewes with brick bats and 
stones for presuming to speak to his soldier 62 

Hewes makes his escape and shuts himself up in 
his shop - - - - - 62 

Common patriotism illustrated in the conduct of 
the British soldier 62 


182 INDEX. 


Hewes resolved on avenging himself on the Bri- 
tish, for their usurpation and tyranny - 62 

With that object resolves on a privateering cruise 63 

Informs his wife of his resolution and requests her 
to have his clothes in readiness by a certain 
time which he designated - - 63 

His wife reluctantly complies without a murmur 63 

Hewes describes the affecting scene of parting with 
his wife and family 63 

The scene of parting with his family an interesting 
subject for the penciled canvass or poet's song 63 

His conduct on this occasion compared to that of 
the Roman patriot in the best days of Roman 
glory .... 64 

A comparative view of the patriotism of 1775, and 
that of the present time - - - 64 

Hewes stipulates to go from Providence on a cruise 
of seven weeks with a Capt. Stacy - 65 

After the seven weeks had expired, and we had 

INDEX. 183 


espied nothing, the crew threatened to mutinize, 
unless the Captain would return - 68 

Soon after espied a British vessel, loaded with 
sweet oil and fur - - - 66 

Took her by first decoying the Captain on board 
our vessel, and sent her into Rhode Island 66 

In about a week after took another prize, and sent 
her into Rhode Island, with a prize master 66 

On the same cruise we took a brig laden with rum 
and sugar .... 66 

While on this cruise off the banks of Newfoundland 
Hewes rerates a narrow escape from drowning, 
by falling from a broken rope into the sea 66 

Was hauled up by a rope, with an Irishman, who 
caught hold of his coat - - - 67 

Returns from this cruise intended for seven weeks, 
after being out three months . - - 67 

Embarked soon after on another cruise from Bos- 
ton, with Capt. Smedley of New- London 68 

184 INDEX. 


After being out nine days met with a heavy gale 
which kept the crew at the pumps eight days 
and nights to keep them from sinking - - 68 

Met with a French ship, the captain of which in- 
formed them of two large British ships deep 
loaded - - - - - - 68 

Varied their course, and came up with them the 
next morning and captured her after killing nine 
of her men .... 59 

An humorous account of the capture of this ship 69 

Gave chace to the other ship, which, during our 
engagement with the first had run away, and 
took her also .... 59 

Sent them to Boston with a prize master, and sailed 
to South Carolina to repair their ship - - 69 

Hewes' account of the capture of two sloops and a 
schooner, with a crew of gentlemen and ladies 
who were tories, escaping from Boston - - 70 

He leaves the cruising business, but never got his 
premium on prizes, or his wages - - 74 

INDEX. 185 


The entire obscurity of his condition since the war 
of the revolution - - - - 76 

An account of his visit at Boston after an absence 
of fifty years . - - - -77 

The physical and intellectual nature of Hewes, 
calculated for daring enterprise - - 84 

A description of the person of Hewes - - 86 

Imitates the Spartans in his habits and manners 89 

An account of his celebrating the 4th of July, 1833 89 

His fortitude in adverse circumstances - - 93 

A view of his present condition and the circum- 
stances which led to it - - - - 94 

Remarks on the causes of the diversity of the hu- 
man condition - - - - 97,98 

Illustrated by examples in our own country - 98 

Remarks on the mode of education among the 
Spartans - - - - - 103 


186 INDEX. 


Remarks on various practices to acquire distinction 105 

Remarks on the distinctions which claim attention 
from the world - - - - 1 1 1 

Plutarch's definition of a magistrate - - 1 1 1 

Hewes claims none of the usual passports to power 
and distinction - - - - - 1 1 1 

An opinion that moral precepts are essential in 
support of civil government - - - 112 

Remarks on the causes of his integrity - - 113 

Our republic not always grateful for past services 1 1 4 

The renown of Hewes inseparably connected by 
the same event - - - - 115 

A propensity in the human disposition to forget the 
events of the past - - - - 117 

The duty of a wise people to seek instruction from 
the past ..... us 

Remarks on longevity, suggested by a view of the 
present condition of Hewes - - -119 

INDEX. 187 


The most celebrated nations have respected and 
reverenced the aged more than any particular 
class in society .... 127 

Remarks on the views which the Spartans had of 
the aged ... - - 127 

Remarks on the uses of a physical biography of 
the very aged ----- 129 

The self-preserving capacity of He wes, distinguish 
him from most instances of longevity - - 131 

Remarks on that class of readers, who are not ex- 
pected to seek for amusement or instruction in 
the memoir of a useful and obscure citizen - 123 

A disposition in mankind to cannonize the fame of 
their ancestors by unfading emblems - -134 

The spot in Boston harbour consecrated to the 
genius of liberty on the 16th of December, 1773, 
deserves a monument - - - - 134 

Sketches from history, or view of the times in 1773 136 

The first armed ship that visited Boston, and dis- 
satisfaction with which it was received - - 138 

183 INDEX. 


Town meeting called in Boston, to concert measures 
of resistance to British taxation - - 140 

Use of tea first prescribed in Boston - - 144 

Artifice of the British officers to divert the minds 
of the Bostonians from a view of threatened evils 144 

Detected and defeated by the ladies - - 144 

Account of the funeral of a boy, killed by a custom- 
house officer - - - - - 145 

Account of Boston massacre - - - 147 

The arrival of the first tea ship in Boston harbour 155 

Boston town meeting, and speech of Josiah Quincy 
on that occasion - - - - 156 

At the close of his speech, the meeting suddenly 
dissolved in confusion, about six o'clock in the 
afternoon, 16th day of December, 1773 - - 157 

Diversity of opinion respecting the views of Mr. 
Quincy, explained - - - - 158 

The destruction of the tea bronght the king and 

INDEX. 189 


parliament to the decision that America must be 
subdued by arms - - - - 159 

Remarks on the lesson which the American Revo- 
lution taught the world - - - 159 

A single event inconsiderable in itself may change 
the condition of a whole nation through all future 
times ...--- 160 

The effect of the British project of taxing the Ameri- 
cans on our future destinies - - - 161 

A view of the future prospects of America - 162 

A regard to the principles upon which our govern- 
ment can alone give it permanency - - 163 

The capacities and the characters of those who 
achieved our independence, pre-eminently quali- 
fied them for that mighty enterprise - - 163 

The one who with his associates convinced Great 
Britain that America could be subdued only by 
force of arms, yet lives, and this memoir should 
perpetuate his memory - - - 165 

190 INDEX. 


The spirit of the horoes and sages who purchased 
our independence, would enable us to perpetuate 
its duration - - - - - 167 


That the reader might duly appreciate the importance of the 
event, which the preceding memoir is intended to revive in the 
recollection, it was proper to notice the causes which led to it, 
and to the separation of the American colonies, from the British 
Government. Among which the most prominent was that of 
their usurping rights not delegated by the people, nor defined by 
any civil constitution. 

Our own civil constitution, formed and adopted by the repre- 
sentatives of the people, has been referred to, also, as the great 
palladium of our liberties. 

There being considerable excitement in the public mind at 
this time, occasioned by a diversity of opinion, respecting the 
object and extent of the power, delegated by that instrument to 
the different departments of our government, I have thought it 
might give to this work in view of its patrons, an additional 
value, tsy comprising in it, the constitution of the United States. 
The propriety of appending this instrument will be further 
appreciated, by the consideration, that this instrument or form 
of our gevtrnment, was the result, not only of the event which 
this memoir would commemorate, but of all the saerinces and 
sufferings, to which the people of the United States were sub- 
jected, in their revolutionary contest. 


WE, the people of the United States, in order to form a more 
perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, 
provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, 


and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our pos- 
terity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United 
States of America, 



1. ALL legislative powers herein granted, shall be vested in a 
congress of the United States, which shall consist of a senate 
and house of representatives. 


1. The house of representatives shall be composed of mem- 
bers, chosen every second year, by the people of the several 
states ; and the electors of each state shall have the qualifica- 
tions requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the 
state legislature. 

2. No person shall be a representative who shall not have 
attained to the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a 
citizen of the United States, who shall not, when elected, be an 
inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen. 

3. Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned 
among the several states which may be included within this 
union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be de- 
termined by adding to the whole number of free persons, includ- 
ing those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding 
Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other persons. The actual 
enumeration shall be made within three years after tha first 
meeting of the congress of the United States, and witlm every 
subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by 
law direct. The number of representatives shall not exceed one 
for every thirty thousand, but each state shall have af least one 
representatives ; and until such enumeration shall bJ made, the 
state of New-Hampshire shall be entitled to choose ihree — Mas. 
sachusetts eight — Rhode Island and Providence Plintations one 
— Connecticut five — New.York six — New. Jersey four — Pennsyl- 
vania eight — Delaware one — Maryland six — Virginia ten — 
North Carolina five — South Carolina five — and Georgia three. 

4. When vacancies happen in the representation from any 
state, the executive authority thereof shall issue writs of elec- 
tion to fill such vacancies. 

5. The house of representatives shall choose their speaker 
and other officers, and shall have the sole power of impeach, 



1. The senate of the United States shall be composed of two 
senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof, for 
six years ; and each senator shall have one vote. 

2. Immediately after they shall be assembled in consequence 
of the first election, they shall be divided, as equally as may be, 
into three classes. The seats of the senators of the first class 
shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year, of the 
second class at the expiration of the fourth year, and of the 
third class at the expiration of the sixth year, so that one third 
may be chosen every second vear ; and if vacancies happen by 
resignation or otherwise, during the recess of the legislature of 
any state, the executive thereof may make temporary appoint, 
ments, until the next meeting of the legislature, which shall then 
fill such vacancies. 

3. No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained 
the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the 
United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant 
of that state for which he shall be chosen. 

4. The vice-president of the United States, shall be president 
of the senate, but shall have no vote unless they be equally di- 

5. The senate shall choose their other officers, and also a 
president pro tempore, in the absence of the vice-president, or 
when he shall exercise the office of president of the United States. 

6. The senate shall have the sole power i > try all impeach- 
ments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath or 
affirmation. When the president of the Unite . I States is tried, 
the chief justice shall preside ; and no person shall be convicted 
without the concurrence of two thirds of the members present. 

7. Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further 
than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and 
enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit, under the United 
States ; but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and 
subject to indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment, accord- 
ing to law. 


1. The times, places, and manner of holding elections for 
senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by 
the legislature thereof; but the congress may, at anytime, by 
law, make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of 
choosing senators. 

3. The congress shall assemble at least once in every year, 
and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, 
unless they shall by law appoint a different day. 




1, Each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns, 
and qualifications of its own members ; and a majority of each 
shall constitute a quorum to do business ; but a smaller number 
may adjourn from clay to day, and may be authorized to compel 
the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under 
such penalties as each house may provide. 

2, Each house may determine the rules of its proceedings, 
punish its members for disorderly behavior, and with the con- 
currence of two thirds expel a member, 

3, Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and 
from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as 
may in their judgment require secrecy ; and the yeas and nays 
of the members of either house on any question, shall, at the 
desire of one fifth of those present, be entered on the journal, 

4, Neither house, during the session of congress, shall, with- 
out the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, 
nor to any other place than that in which the two houses shall 
be sitting. 


1. The senators and representatives shall receive a compensa- 
tion for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of 
the treasury of the United States. They shall, in all cases, ex- 
cept treason, felony, and breach of the peace, be privileged from 
arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective 
houses, and in going to and returning from the same ; and for 
any speech or debate in either house, they shall not be question- 
ed in any other place. 

2. No senator or representative shall, during the time for 
which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the 
authority of the United States, which shall have been created, 
or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased during 
such time ; and no person holding any office under the United 
States, shall be a member of either house during his continuance 
in office. 


1. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the house of 
representatives ; but the senate may propose or concur with 
amendments as on other bills. 

2. Every bill which shall have passed the house of representa- 
tives and the senate, shall, before it becomes a law, be presented 
to the president of the United States ; if he approve, he shall 
sign it ; but if not, he shall return it, with his objections, to that 
house in winch it shall have originated who shall enter the ob- 


jections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. 
If, after such reconsideration, two thirds of that house shall 
agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objec- 
tions to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsid- 
ered, and if approved by two thirds of that house, it shall become 
a law. But in all such cases, the votes of both houses shall be 
determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons 
voting for and against the bill, shall be entered on the journal 
of each house respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by 
the president within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall 
have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like 
manner as if he had signed it, unless the congress by their ad- 
journment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law. 
3. Every order, resolution, or vote to which the concurrence 
of the senate and house of representatives may be necessary 
(except on a question of adjournment) shall be presented to the 
president of the United States ; and before the same shall take 
effect, shall be approved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds 
of the senate and house of representatives according to the rules 
and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill. 


The congress shall have power — 

1. To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises ; to 
pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general 
welfare of the United States ; but all duties, imposts, and excises 
shall be uniform throughout the United States : 

2. To borrow money on the credit of the United States : 

3. To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among 
the several states-, and with the Indian tribes : 

4. To establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and uni- 
form laws on the subject of bankruptcies, throughout the United 
States : 

5. To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign 
coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures : 

6. To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the secu- 
rities and current coin of the United States : 

7. To establish post-offices and post-roads : 

8. To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by 
securing for limited times, to authors and inventors, the exclu- 
sive right of their respective writings and discoveries : 

9. To constitute tribunals inferior to the supreme court : To 
define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high 
seas, and offences against the law of nations : 


10. To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and 
make rules concerning captures on land or water. 

11. To raise and support armies; but no appropriation of 
money to that use, shall be for a longer term than two years : 

12. To provide and maintain a navy : 

13. To make rules for the government and regulation of the 
land and naval forces : 

14. To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws 
of the union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions: 

15. To provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the 
militia, and for governing such part of them, as may be employ- 
ed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states 
respectively, the apppointment of the officers, and the authority 
of training the militia according to the discipline presented by 
congress : 

16. To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, 
over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by 
cession of particular states, and the acceptance of congress, 
become the seat of government of the United States, and to 
exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent 
of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for 
the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock yards and other 
needful buildings: — And 

17. To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper, for 
carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other 
powers vested by this constitution, in the government of the 
United States, or in any department or office thereof. 


1. The migration or importation of such persons as any of 
the states now existing may think proper to admit, shall not be 
prohibited by the congress prior to the year eighteen hundred 
and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation 
not exceeding ten dollars for each person. 

2. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be 
suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the 
public safety may require it. 

3. No bill of attainder, or ex post facto law shall be passed. 

4. No capitation, or other direct tax shall be laid, unless in 
proportion to the census or enumeration herein before directed 
to be taken. 

5. No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any 
state. No preference shall be given by any regulation of com- 
merce or revenue to the parts of one state over those of another ; 



nor shall vessels bound to or from one state, be obliged to enter, 
clear, or pay duties in another. 

6. No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in conse- 
quence of appropriations made by law : and a regular statement 
and account of the receipts and expenditures of ail public money, 
shall be published from time to time. 

7. No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States ; 
and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, 
shall, without the consent of the congress, accept of any present, 
emolument, office, or title of any kind whatever, from any king, 
prince or foreign state. 

section x. 

1. No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confedera- 
tion : grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit 
bills of credit ; make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender 
in payment of debts ; pass any bill of attaindor, ex post facto 
law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts ; or grant any 
title of nobility. 

2 No state shall, without the consent of the congress, lay 
any imposts cr duties on imports or exports, except what may 
be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection laws; and 
the net produce of all duties and imports laid by any state on 
imports or exports, shall be for the use of the treasury of the 
United States ; and all such laws shall be subject to the revision 
and control of the congress. No state shall without the consent 
of congress lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops or ships of 
war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with 
another state, or with a foreign power, or engage in a war, un- 
less actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not 
admit of delay. 



1. The executive power shall be vested in a president of the 
United States of America. He shall hold his office during the 
term of four years, and, together with the vice-president, chosen 
for the same term, be elected as follows : 

2. Each state shall appoint in such manner as the legislature 
thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole 
number of senators and representatives to which the state may 
be entitled in the congress ; but no senator or representative, or 
person holding an office of trust or profit under the United 
States, shall be appointed an elector. 



3. The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote 
by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an 
inhabitant of the same state with themselves. And they shall 
make a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of 
votes for each ; which list they shall sign and certify, and 
transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United 
States, directed to the president of the senate. The president 
of the senate shall, in the presence of the senate and house of 
representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then 
be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes 
shall be the president, if such number be a majority of the whole 
number of the electors appointed ; and if theie be more than 
one who have such majority, and have an equal number of votes, 
then the house of representatives shall immediately choose by 
ballot, one of them for president ; and if no person have a ma- 
jority, then from the five highest on the list, the said house shall, 
in like manner, choose the president. But in choosing the presi- 
dent, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation of each 
state having one vote. A quorum for this purpose shall consist 
of a member or members from two thirds of the states, and a 
majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. In 
every case, after the choice of the president, the person having 
the greatest number of votes of the electors, shall be the vice- 
president. But if there should remain two or more who have 
pqual votes, the senate shall choose for them, by ballot, the vice- 

4. The congress may determine the time of choosing the 
electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes ; which 
day shall be the same throughout the United States. 

5. No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the 
United States at the time of the adoption of this constitution, 
shall be eligible to the office of president ; neither shall any per- 
son be eligible to that office, who shall not have attained to tho 

ige of thirl y-five years, and been fourteen years a resident with- 
T the United States. 

6. In case of the removal of the president from office, or of 
his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and 

ies of said office, the same shall devolve on the vice-president, 

1 the congress may, by law, provide for the case of removal, 

th, resignation, or inability, both of the president and vice- 

:dent, declaring what officer shall then act as president, and 

: officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed, 

or d. president shall be elected. 

Che president shall, at stated times, receive for his services 
p nsation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished 



during the period for which he shall have been elected, and he 
shall not receive within that period any other emolument from 
the United States, cr any of them. ■ 

8. Before he enters on the execution of his office, he shall 
take the following oath or affirmation. 

9. " I do solemnly swear Tor affirm] that I will faithfully exe- 
cute the office of president of the United States, and will, to 
the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the constitu- 
tion of the United States." 


1. The president shall be the commander in chief of the army 
and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several 
states, when called into the actual service of the United States ; 
he may require the opinion in writing, cf the principal officers 
in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating 
to the duties of the respective officers ; and he shall have power 
to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United 
States except in cases of impeachment. 

2. He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent 
of the senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the sen- 
ators present, concur : and he shall nominate, and by and with 
the advice and consent of the senate, shall appoint ambassadors, 
other public ministers, and consuls, judges of the supreme court, 
and other officers of the United States, whose appointments are 
not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established 
by law. But the congress may, by law, vei t the appointment of 
such inferior officers as they think proper, in the president alone, 
in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments. 

3. The president shall have power to fill up all vacancies that 
may happen during the recess of the senate, by granting com- 
missions which shall expire at the end of the next session. 


1. He shall, from time to time, give to the congress, informa- 
tion of the state of the union, and recommend to their consider- 
ation, such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient ; 
he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both houses, or 
either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with 
respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such 
time as he shall think proper ; he shall receive ambassadors and 
other public ministers ; he shall take care that the laws be faith- 
fully executed ; and shall commission all the officers of the 
United States. 



1. The president, vice-president, and all civil officers of the 
United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, 
and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and 



I. The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in 
one supreme court, and in such inferior courts as the congress 
may, from time to time, ordain and establish. The judges, both 
of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during 
good behavior, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, 
a compensation which shall not be diminished during their con- 
tinuance in office. 


1. The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and 
equity, arising under this constitution, the laws of the United 
States and the treaties made, or which shall be made, under 
their authority; to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public 
ministers and consuls ; to all cases of admiralty and maritime 
jurisdiction ; to controversies to which the United States shall 
be a party ; to controversies between two or more states, between 
a state and citizens of another state, between citizens of different 
states, between citizens of the same state claiming lands under 
grants of different states, and between a state and the citizens 
thereof, and foreign states, citizens, or subjects. 

2. In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers 
and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the su- 
preme court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other 
cases before mentioned, the supreme court shall have appellee 
jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and 
under such regulations as congress shall make. 

3. The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, 
shall be by jury ; and such trial shall be held in the state where 
the said crimes shall have been committed ; but when not com- 
mitted within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places 
as the congress may by law have directed. 


1. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in 
levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving 
them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason, 


unless on the testimony of two witnesses^ the same overt act, 
or on the confession in open court. 

2. The congress shall have power to declare the punishment 
of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of 
blood, or forfeiture, except during the life of the person attained. 



1. Full faith and credit shall be given in each state, to the 
public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other 
state. And tbe congress may, by general laws prescribe the 
manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings, shall be 
proved, and the effect thereof. 


1. The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges 
and immunities of citizens in the several states. 

2. A person charged in any state with treason, felony, or 
other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another 
state, shall, on demand of the executive authority of the state 
from which he fled, be delivered up to be removed to the state 
having jurisdiction of the crime. 

5. No person held to service or labor in one state, under the 
laws thereof, escaping into another, shall in consequence of 
any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service 
or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom 
such service or labor may be due. 


1. New states mcy be admitted by tlie congress into this 
union ; but no new state shall be formed or created within the 
jurisdiction of any other state ; nor any state be formed by the 
junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the 
consent of the legislature of the states concerned as well as of 
the congress. 

2. The congress shall have power to dispose of and make all 
needful rules and regulations, respecting the territory or other 
property belonging to the United States ; and nothing in this 
constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of 
the United States, or of any particular state. 


1. The United States shall guarantee to every state in this 
union, a republican form of government, and shall protect each 


of them against invasion ; and on application of the legislature, 
or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) 
against domestic violence. 


1. The congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall 
deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this constitu- 
tion, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of 
the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amend- 
ments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and 
purposes, as part of this constitution, when ratified by the 
legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conven- 
tions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of 
ratification may be proposed by the congress ; provided, that no 
amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand 
eight hundred and eight, shall in any manner effect the first and 
fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article ; and that 
no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal 
suffrage in the senate. 


1. All debts contracted and engagements entered into before 
the adoption of this constitution, shall be as valid against the 
United States under this constitution, asunder the confederation. 

2. This constitution, and the laws of the United States which 
shall be made in pursuance thereof ; and all treaties made, or 
which shall be made under the authority of the United States, 
shall be the supreme law of the land ; and the judges in every 
state shall be bound thereby ; any thing in the constitution or 
laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding. 

3. The senators and representatives before mentioned, and the 
members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and 
judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several 
states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this con- 
stitution ; but no religious test shall ever be required as a quali- 
fication to any office or public trust under the United States. 


1. The ratification of the convention of nine states, shall be 
sufficient for the establishment of this constitution between the 
states so ratifying the same. 

Done in convention, by the unanimous consent of the states 
present, the seventeenth day of September, in the year of our 



Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, and of 
the independence of the United States of America, the twelfth. 
In witness whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names. 

and deputy from Virginia. 

New -Hampshire. 
John Langdon, 
Nicholas Gilman. 

Nathaniel Gorham, 
Rufus King. 

William Samuel Johnson, 
Roger Sherman. 

Alexander Hamilton. 

William Livingston, 
David Brearley, 
William Patterson, 
Jonathan Dayton. 

B e nj amin Fran I: ' 
Thomas Mifflin, 
Robert Morris, 
George Clymer, 
Thomas Fitzsimons, 
Jared Ingersoll, 
James Wilson, 
Governeur Morris. 

George Reed, 
Gunning Bedford, jun. 
John Dickinson, 
Richard Bassett, 
Jacob Broom. 

James M'Henry, 
Daniel of St. Tho. Jenifer, 
Daniel Carroll, 

John Blair, 
James Madison, jun. 

William Blount, 
Richard Dobbs Spaight, 
Hugh Williamson. 

John Rut! 

Charles C. Pinkney, 
Charles Pinkney, 
Pierce Butler. 

"William Few, 
Abraham Baldwin. 

Attest : WILLIAM JACKSON, Secretary, 


Monday, September 17th, 1787. 

Resolved, That the preceding 1 constitution be laid before the 
United States in congress assembled, and that it is the opinion of 
this convention, that it should afterwards be submitted to a con- 
vention of delegates chosen in each state by the people thereof, 
under the recommendation of its legislature, for their assent and 
ratification ; and that each convention assenting to, and ratifying 
the same, should give notice thereof to the United States in con- 
gress assembbd. 

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this convention, that as soon 
as the conventions of nine states shall have ratified this constitu- 
tion, the United States in congress assembled, should fix a day on 
which electors should be appointed by the states which shall have 
ratified the same, and a day on which the electors should assemble 
to vote for the president, and the time and place for commencing 
proceedings under this constitution. That after such publication, 
the electors should be appointed, and the senators and represen- 
tatives elected. That the electors should meet on the day fixed 
for the elections of the president, and should transmit their votes, 
certified, signed, sealed and directed, as the constitution requires, 
to the secretary of the United States, in congress assembled; that 
the senators and representatives should convene at the time and 
place assigned ; that the senators should appoint a president of 
the senate, for the sole purpose of receiving, opening, and count- 
ing the votes for president; and that after he shall be chosen, the 
congress, together with the president, should, without delay, pro- 
ceed to execute this constitution. 

By the unanimous order of the convention, 


William Jackson, Secretary. 


September, 17th, 1787. 


1. We have now the honor to submit to the consideration of 
the United States in congress assembled, that constitution which 
has appeared to us the most advisable. 


2. The friends of our country have long seen and desired, that 
the power of making war, peace and treaties ; that of levying 
money and regulating commerce, and the correspondent execu- 
tive and judicial authorities, should be fully and effectually vested 
in the general government of the Union ; but the impropriety of 
delegating such extensive trusts 1o one body of men, is evident ; 
hence results the necessity of a different organization. 

3. It is obviously impracticable in the federal government of 
these states, to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to 
each, and yet provide for the safety of all. Individuals entering 
into society, must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. 
The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation 
and circumstance, as on the o ject to be obtained. It is at all 
times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights 
which must be surrendered and those which maybe reserved; 
and on the present occasion, this difficulty was increased by a 
difference among the several states as to their situation, extent, 
habits, and particular interests. 

4. In all our deliberations on this subject, we kept steadily in 
our view, that which appears to us the greatest interest of every 
true American, the consolidation of our union, in which is in- 
volved our prosperity, felicity, safety, perhaps our national exist- 
ence. This important consideration, seriously and deeply im- 
pressed on our minds, led each state in the convention to be less 
rigid on points of inferior magnitude, than might have been other- 
wise expected; and thus the constitution which v/e nmv present, 
is the result of a spirit of amity and that of mutual Hi ference and 
concession, which the peculiarity of our political situation ren- 
dered indispensible. 

5. That it will meet the full and entire approbation of every 
state, is not, perhaps, to be expected ; but each Will doubtless con- 
sider, that had her interest alone been consulted, the consequen- 
ces might have been particularly disagreeable or injurious to 
others ; that it is liable to as few exceptions as could reasonably 
have been expected, we hope and believe; that it may promote 
the 1? sting welfare of that country so dear to us all, and secure 
her freedom and happiness, is our most ardent wish. With great 
respect, we have the honor to be, sir, your excellency's most obe- 
dient and humble servants. 

By the unanimous order of the convention. 
His excellency the Presi- 
dent of Congress. 



in congress assembled". 

Friday, Sept. 28th, 1787. 
Present — New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New- 
York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North 
Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia; and from Maryland, 
Mr. Ross. 

Congress having received the report of the convention lately 
assembled in Philadelphia : 

Resolved, unanimously, That the said report, with the resolu. 
tions and letter accompanying the same, be transmitted to the 
several legislatures, in order to submit to a convention of dele- 
gates, chosen in each state by the people thereof, in conformity 
to the resolves of the convention, made and provided in that case. 
Charles Thompson, Secretary. 



Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of 
leligion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging 
the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the peo- 
ple peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a 
redress of grievances. 


A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a 
free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not 
be infringed. 


No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, 
without the consent of the owner ; nor in time of war, but in a 
manner to be prescribed by law. 



The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, 
papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, 
shall not be violated ; and no warrants shall issue, but upon prob- 
able cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly 
describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to 
be seized. 


No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise 
infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand 
jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the 
militia, when in actual service, in time of war or public danger ; 
nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice 
put in jeopardy of life or limb ; nor sIvgII be compelled, in any 
criminal case, to be witness against himself, nor be deprived of 
life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall 
private property be taken for public use, without just compen- 


In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right 
to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the state and 
district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which dis- 
trict shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be 
informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be con- 
fronted with the witnesses against him ; to have compulsory 
process for obtaining witnesses in his favor ; and to have the as- 
sistance of counsel for his defence. 


In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall 
exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved ; 
and no fact, tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in 
any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the 
common law. 


Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines impo. 
sed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. 


The enumeration in the constitution, of certain rights, shall 


not bo construed to deny or disparage others retained by the 


The powers not delegated to the United States by the consti- 
tution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states 
respectively, or to the people. 


The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed 
to extend any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted 
against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or 
by citizens or subjects of any foreign state. 


1 The electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by 
ballot for president and vice president, one of whom, at least, 
shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves ; they 
shall name in their ballots the person voted for as president, and 
indistinct ballots the person voted for as vice president; and 
they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as president, 
and of ail persons voted for as vice-president, or the number of 
votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and trans- 
mit, sealed, to the seat of the government of the United States, 
directed to the president of the senate ; the president of the sen- 
ate shall, in the presence of the senate and house of representa- 
tives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be 
counted; the person having the greatest number of votes for 
president, if such number be a majority of the whole number of 
electors appointed ; and if no person have such majority, then 
from three on the list of those voted for as president, the house 
of representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the presi- 
dent. But in choosing the president, the votes shall be taken by 
states, the representation from each state having one vote : a 
quorum for this purposo shall consist of a member or members 
from two thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall 
be necessary to a choice. And if the house of representatives 
shall not choose a president whenever the right of choice shall 
devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next follow- 
ing, then the vice-president shall act as president, as in the case 
of the death or other constitutional disability of the president. 

2. The person having the greatest number ef votes as vice- 
president, shall be the vice-president, if such number be a major- 
ity of the whole number of electers appointed ; and if no person 

THE UNITED STATES. 20 ^ a majority, then from the two highest numbers on he hst, 
the senate shall choose the vice-president: a quorum for the pur- 
pose S consist of two thirds of the whole number of senators, 

aTd a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a 

Ch 3 : C Butno person constitutionally inelligihle ******* 
esident shall be eligible to that of vice-president of the UmteJ 



If any citizen of the United States, shall accept claim, re 
ceive or retain, any title of nobility or honor, or shall without 
the conc'nt of congress, accept and retain any present, pension, 
office ^or emolumen? whatever, from any Emperor, gjgjtag; 
or foreign power, suoh person shall cease to be a citizen or the 
Unite! States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of 
trust or profit under them, or either of them. 


O-The ten first amendments were proposed, by the twohowi 
Congress, to the several states, at the first session of tne first 

C °Se S ebventh amendment was proposed by the two houses of 
congress, to the several states, at the first session of the third 

e °ThTtwelfth amendment was proposed, by the two houses of 
congress to the several states, at the first session of the eighth 

'^thirteenth amendment was proposed by the two houses 
of congress, to the several states, at the second session of the 

nth congress. 


Page. Line. 

11 2 from bottom, led for lead. 

19 10 from top, sought for taught. 

27 27 from bottom, read led for lead. 

75 10 from top, read joined for gained. 

76 10 from top read others for other. 
109 first line, read caucus for cause. 
113 4 from top, read his for as his. 

119 4 from bottom, for survive read survived. 

150 12 from bottom, for tea read tax. 

151 7 from top, for would read could. 

93 9 from top, for profession read possession. 

146 10 from top, latet anguis in herba ; a snake lies hid in the grass. 
146 11 from top, Haeret lateri lethais arundo ; the deadlv arrow sticks la 
the side. 
12 from top, Innocentia nusquam tuta ; innocence is never safe. 



y- 1931 

L&pox Library 

J3 ancreft CxxUeztxxrn.